What sand really looks like—grains of sand, magnified 

Photographer Gary Greenberg uses a 3D microscope to open our eyes to the microworld — a place where tiny sand grains look like colorful pieces of candy.

In Gary’s talk at TEDxMaui, he explains what we don’t see when we stick our toes in the sea:

"Each sand grain is about a tenth of a millimeter in size. When you look closer, it’s really quite amazing. You have microshells there; coral; fragments of other shells; olivine; bits of volcano; tube worms — an amazing array of incredible things exist in sand. 

When we’re walking along a beach, we’re actually walking along millions of years of biological and geological history. We don’t realize it, but it’s actually a record of that entire ecology. If you look at different sands from different places — every single beach, every single place where you look at sand — they’re different.”

Photos courtesy of Gary Greenberg. See more of Gary’s photography documenting the “microworld” at his website.

The beautiful nano details of our world: Above — a super close look at wine crystals and plants.

TEDxMaui speaker Dr. Gary Greenberg photographs life at the microscopic level — revealing what everyday things look like at their tiniest, a process discussed in his talk, "The beautiful nano details of our world."

At top:

  • Row 1: Beaujolais wine crystals
  • Row 2: Phloem and xylem in plant tissues
  • Row 3: Hibiscus leaves

Watch Gary’s whole talk here and see more of his photography documenting the “microworld” at his website.








“TED stands for ‘Technology, Entertainment and Design,’ but it’s really much more than that,” says Sara Tekula, one of TEDxMaui’s founders. “I feel that TED is about the human need to learn, teach and share. We all want to know more about our world. We want to understand how things work, or how they can work better or differently. TED really offers a vast educational library of brief ‘talk story’ moments where incredible people are given 18 minutes or less to share their big idea with the world…”

TEDxMaui offers our own community the chance to get in the mix…with just as many “ideas worth spreading” — the mantra behind TED — as the original conference. 







— From Jen Russo’s mautime magazine cover story on TEDxMaui.
“TED stands for ‘Technology, Entertainment and Design,’ but it’s really much more than that,” says Sara Tekula, one of TEDxMaui’s founders. “I feel that TED is about the human need to learn, teach and share. We all want to know more about our world. We want to understand how things work, or how they can work better or differently. TED really offers a vast educational library of brief ‘talk story’ moments where incredible people are given 18 minutes or less to share their big idea with the world…”

TEDxMaui offers our own community the chance to get in the mix…with just as many “ideas worth spreading” — the mantra behind TED — as the original conference.

— From Jen Russo’s mautime magazine cover story on TEDxMaui.