Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Event 3 - "Fourth State of Matter"

            For the third event, I attended Fourth State of Matter, which focused on the application of mathematics and physics to artistic design and creation.
            Among the several eclectic exhibits within the showroom, the chaos visualization stood out to me. Humanity’s futile attempt to find order in chaos is demonstrated by our primal fear of the unknown. The artist’s visualization does not seek to find order in chaos or even to understand it but instead to demonstrate its allure. A seemingly systematic function quickly succumbs to chaotic behavior through constant iteration subject to varying boundary conditions. I believe that this visualization demonstrates the rapidity of a system’s declining condition when subjected to the proper boundary conditions. This is, of course, not only applicable to mathematical functions with set parameters but can be extrapolated to any established system. With the right pieces in place, a seemingly ordered system can quickly devolve into chaos.

Entropy by Eric Fram
            Another exhibit that caught my attention was Entropy by Eric Fram. The struggle between entropy and energy manifests itself in the flux ropes and microstates available to the system. The artist provides a visualization of the continuity of entropy’s response to different energy states. By placing a human of growing age in successive frames, the artist shows how chaos in ones’ life declines as time passes. As human’s and other species age, they are able to bring order to an otherwise chaotic world through the understanding of the events around them.
Me with Entropy

Other Works at the Exhibition:
The Chaos Inside by Sydnie Bui
Lightning Mandala by Judy Kim

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Week 9: Space + Art

            The lectures this week discussed space and art. This study of space incorporates mathematics, robotics, biotechnology, and nanotechnology, all of which was discussed throughout this course. From the beginning of time, we have been fascinated by the sky, the stars, and the planets, and without the sciences mentioned above, we would not have been able to study the universe at all. It is easy to see why space exploration heavily relies on the application of all the science fields, but it is not so clear to see how influential art was in this process.
            The 1920 novel, Beyond the Planet Earth, by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky “remarkably anticipated the ISS [or International Space Station] by pictureing a space station with a crew of six people from Russia, America, France, England, Germany, and Italy, all of which (save for England) are now involved in its construction” (Westfahl). Tsiolkovsky anticipated the construction of the ISS thirty years before space travel became possible. In later years, Arthur C. Clarke wrote technological science fiction novels like The Fountains of Paradise and A Space Odyssey “to promote this future to a wider public” (Cengage Learning). Clarke believed that most public support and excitement stemmed from science fiction novels, movies, and TV shows.
            Aside from books, TV shows like Planet Stories, The Jetsons, Lost in Space, and Star Trek influenced popular culture. “’Star Trek’ has represented the hope of what space – ‘the final frontier’ – can mean for humanity in a few centuries” (Howell). Shows like Star Trek excited the public about space travel. For example, in 1970, Constitution was a prototype space shuttle that was about to run test flights, but Star Trek fans wrote letters to the government to request the name to be changed to Enterprise, which is the main starship in the TV series.

            It is clear to see how these forms of art were extremely important in the public acceptance, understanding, support, excitement, etc. of space travel and exploration. NASA perfectly states that they are “proud to be part of the wonderful future that visionaries such as Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick imagined more than 45 years ago” (Dunbar).


Cengage Learning and CengageBrain. "5 Science Fiction Writers And Their Impact On Space Exploration." HowToLearncom. The Center For New Discoveries In 
          Learning, Inc, 25 July 2012. Web. 26 May 2016. <>.

Dunbar, Brian. "1968 Science Fiction Is Today's Reality." NASA. NASA, 21 Oct. 2014. Web. 26 May 2016. 

Forde, Kathleen. "Dancing on the Ceiling: Art & Zero Gravity Curated by Kathleen Forde : EMPAC Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts 
          Center : Troy, NY USA." Dancing on the Ceiling: Art & Zero Gravity Curated by Kathleen Forde : EMPAC Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and 
          Performing Arts Center : Troy, NY USA. Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, n.d. Web. 26 May 2016. 

Howell, Elizabeth. "Star Trek: History & Effect on Space Technology." Purch, 01 Feb. 2016. Web. 26 May 2016. 

Westfahl, Gary. "Inspired by Science Fiction." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 26 May 2016. <>.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Week 8 - Nanotech + Art

            This week’s lectures focused on the connection between nanotechnology and art. Perfectly stated by Jim Gimzewski and Victoria Vesna, “In both the philosophical and visual sense, ‘seeing is believing’ does not apply to nanotechnology, for there is nothing even remotely visible to create proof of existence” (Gimzewski and Vesna). Nanotechnologies are reinventing how science works and it has the power to change the world, yet it is invisible to the naked eye. It is amazing how something so miniscule could be the most powerful tool in the world.

The Making of the Circular Corral: Iron on Copper (111)

Quantum Corral: Iron on Copper (111)

            Nanotechnology would be impossible without the collaboration between artists and scientists. A great example is the Quantum Corrals by Don Eigler and coworkers. The Scanning Tunneling Microscope’s (STM) “ability to image variations in the density distribution of surface state electrons created in the artists a compulsion to have complete control of not only the atomic landscape, but the electronic landscape also” (Crommie, Lutz and Eigler). These corrals are not just inanimate art pieces, but they actually have nanoscale happenings inside them. “The artists were delighted to discover that they could predict what goes on in the corral by solving the classic eigenvalue problem in quantum mechanics” (Crommie, Lutz and Eigler). These artists and scientists created “corrals” using quantum states of electrons and positioning them into different density distributions. In addition to creating the general shapes of the different corrals, Eigler, Crommie, and Lutz also play with different lighting conditions, the point of view, and the different colors to fit the purpose of the image. So, these Quantum Corrals not only incorporate the skills and knowledge of a long-time scientist, but the intricate, detailed care and thought process of an artist to produce and design their vision. This is a great example of one of the many ways scientists are using art to create different structures on the nanoscale level.
             Similar to the creation of the Quantum Corrals, scientists and artists are constantly working together with nanotechnologies to create medicine, adhesives, glass, concrete, clothing, etc. Nanotechnology is a field with much more to discover, invent, and create, so I am sure that in the near future things will be possible that we never thought would be.

"Power of Nanotechnology"


Crommie, M. F., C. P. Lutz, and D. M. Eigler. "Confinement of Electrons to Quantum Corrals on a Metal Surface." Science ns 262.5131 (1993): 218-20. JSTOR
          American Association for the Advancement of Science, 08 Oct. 1993. Web. 16 May 2016. <

Eigler, Don. "Capturing Quantum Corrals." Interview by Felice Frankel. American Scientist. Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, n.d. Web. 17 May 2016.

Eigler, Don, Michael Crommie, and C. P. Lutz. " STM Image Gallery." IBM Research. IBM, n.d. Web. 17 May 2016. 

Gimzewski, Jim, and Victoria Vespa. "The Nanomeme Syndrome: Blurring of Fact & Fiction in the Construction of a New Science." N.p., n.d. Web. 17 May 2016. 

"Nano Education." NanoArt 21. NanoArt 21, n.d. Web. 16 May 2016. <>.