I appreciate Milk Drop Coronet because it is both a symbol of revolutionary scientific technology and artistic beauty, This image was taken in 1936, long before digital manipulation or consumer-level strobes, and printed in 1957. It stands as the result of years of patience and thought. Harold Edgerton, the photographer, was a visionary scientist and inventor. This image was taken with a camera created by Edgerton himself in order to use strobe-lighting and freeze the moment a milk drop splashes back from the surface, becoming a perfect crown.
It is an image that mesmerizes me. During every moment, within every action, there are beautiful ephemera we cannot begin to know before they disappear forever. Milk Drop Coronet reminds me of how vast our world can be, and how small our knowledge is. It is humbling and lovely. I know that this image is not native to the web, but it is the best flow visualization I know of, and the fact that it remains through so many technological advances is, I believe, a testament to its lasting power.
Image from the Detroit Institute of Arts.