Mobiles, Molecules and the Coalescence of Processes Mobiles, Molecules and the Coalescence of Processes

The author provides an account of his development and experiences as both a visual (mobile) artist and a chemist. He describes the surprising similarities between the planning of the construction of a mobile and the execution of retrosynthetic analysis used to chemically create a particular molecule. The fusion of these two independently initiated mental processes into a common creative act can be referred to as a coalescence of processes. The present article discusses the consequences of this merging for both artistic and scientific practices, as well as its relevance to the artscience concept of idea translation.

Protein Kolam: An Artistic Rendition of Molecular Structure Data Protein Kolam: An Artistic Rendition of Molecular Structure Data

Any detailed discussion of protein function inevitably involves protein structure. In this article, a visual representation intended to allow the artistic interpretation of protein structure data is presented. The authors have simplified the representation of proteins through the use of the traditional South Indian folk art kolam. This artistic representation presents an interesting means for understanding complicated protein folds. The work presented here may also provide a basis for the study of the topology, similarity and assembly of biological macromolecules.

Can You Hear the Femur Play? Bone Audio Speakers at the Nanoscale Can You Hear the Femur Play? Bone Audio Speakers at the Nanoscale

This paper describes the research process involved in making audio speakers out of cow bone. The paper begins by discussing the conceptual basis of the work. It goes on to explain the piezoelectric nature of the bone matrix and how this makes it possible for bone to operate as an audio speaker. It then chronicles the process of working from a theoretical possibility to a functional speaker. In the concluding section of the paper, the final artifacts and conceptual outcomes of the process are discussed.

Epistemology, Aesthetics, Comparisons and Public Perceptions of Images of Nanoscale Objects

Images of atoms, molecules and other nanoscale objects constitute one of the principal ways of communicating scientific knowledge about nanotechnology, both within and beyond the scientific community. This paper reports on four kinds of insights from studies of nano images: (1) a critical epistemology of these images; (2) aesthetic interpretations intended to counterbalance problems identified in the epistemology; (3) comparisons with issues of visualization from other scientific areas; and (4) a consideration of how persons in the public interpret artistic pictures of nanobots. These insights demonstrate how the humanities and social sciences contribute to the understanding of nanotechnology.

The Role of Images and Art in Nanotechnology The Role of Images and Art in Nanotechnology

The profusion of images following from the development of nanoscience/technology has coexisted with persistent confusion about how nano images work and what they mean in varying contexts. This article gives insights on some of the more pervasive images, how they can be categorized and what problems have occurred in efforts to use visual information in the exploration and confirmation of the nanoscale.

Images and Imaginations: An Exploration of Nanotechnology Image Galleries Images and Imaginations: An Exploration of Nanotechnology Image Galleries

Throughout the brief history of nanoscience and nanotechnology, the prominence of digital images and animations is noteworthy. Many appear in online image galleries that provide an important public interface for presenting and promoting scientific research. In this essay, the authors examine a selection of images from image galleries, identify some of their features and functions, and discuss how the artistic and scientific conventions used to present these images define nanotechnology for both researchers and members of the broader public.

Very Small Horses: Visualizing Motion at the Nanoscale Very Small Horses: Visualizing Motion at the Nanoscale

The presentation of real-time data and animations can lead to new understanding and, in some cases, misunderstanding, of the phenomena represented. How can fundamental nanoscale structures, properties and responses be represented in data, motion and other forms? What are the keys to understanding, representing and sensing the nanoscale, and how do these differ from our intuition, which is based on our experience with macroscopic phenomena?

Electronic Music for Bio-Molecules Using Short Music Phrases Electronic Music for Bio-Molecules Using Short Music Phrases

The authors explore protein sonification issues using Morse code theory. Short musical phrases based on protein amino acids are used to compose protein music. Rhythms and tunes familiar to teenagers are also investigated, with the aim of producing different genres of protein music. A special musical instrument, the Chinese guzheng, can be employed to play the protein music. Experiment is carried out with different proteins, including the HIV main protease. It is hoped that this study can help unveil the mysteries of nature and motivate students to learn biology.

Digital Design of Molecular Sculptures and Abstractions Digital Design of Molecular Sculptures and Abstractions

While tactile models have been used to describe molecular structures for over a century, the sculpting of structural models is a recent phenomenon. Following X-ray coordinate selection, the author uses modeling software and a computer numerically controlled (CNC) milling machine to create precisely scaled, tactile molecular sculptures. The challenge is to inspire the general public to appreciate the aesthetic aspects of molecular architecture and to reveal the magnificence of nature on the molecular scale.

Communicating Science through the Language of Dance: A Journey of Education and Reflection Communicating Science through the Language of Dance: A Journey of Education and Reflection

Bharatanatyam, the classical dance style of South India, is adept at conveying complex, multilayered narratives. This paper documents and reflects upon the interactions between the author, a scientist and educator, and a professional dance company as they strive to develop and produce a dance-drama about the carbon cycle. The author examines the process by which scientific ideas are shared with the artists and the way a scientific narrative becomes one with an artistic meaning. The paper also examines areas for possible future science-dance collaborations and explores the necessary features for a collaborative science-dance pedagogy.

Iridescent Color: From Nature to the Painter’s Palette Iridescent Color: From Nature to the Painter’s Palette

The shifting rainbow hues of iridescence have, until recently, remained exclusive to nature. Now, the latest advances in nanotechnology enable the introduction of novel, bioinspired color-shifting flakes into painting—thereby affording artists potential access to the full spectacle of iridescence. Unfortunately, existing rules of easel painting do not apply to the new medium; but, as nature inspired the technology, an exploration of natural phenomena can best inform how to overcome this hurdle. Thus, by adopting a biomimetic approach, this paper outlines the optical principles underlying iridescence and provides technical ground rules for its incorporation into painting.

Three Colors: Coomassie Brilliant Blue, Sudan I and Somalia Yellow Three Colors: Coomassie Brilliant Blue, Sudan I and Somalia Yellow

By taking the lab into the studio, the artist describes in this article the first use of industrial chemical dyes with his paintings or dye-paintings. A brief explanation of this technique in art and the production process is given, together with a short introduction and history on chemical dyes, their toxicity and pigments.

Nanotechnology: The Endgame of Materialism Nanotechnology: The Endgame of Materialism

Imagine that one could arrange atoms in any form one wanted: What would one create? What kind of mind would it take to change the world through this metamorphosis of rearrangement and design? The ultimate endgame of our current technological capability to make material things is determined by our own creativity. The author examines how technological interfaces join the human mind to objects of experience from the nanometric to the planetary scale and theorizes the impact this perceptual condition will have on the personal and collective psyche.

Gene Culture: Molecular Metaphor in Visual Art Gene Culture: Molecular Metaphor in Visual Art

This paper addresses visual art’s relationship to genetics and its attendant metaphorical representation. By diagramming models of the ways in which DNA is visualized and comprehended as a system of signs, parallel conceptions between art history’s engagement with abstraction, recontextualization, and duplication is compared to genetic process and laboratory experimentation.

Etching and Tone Creation Using Low-Voltage Anodic Electrolysis Etching and Tone Creation Using Low-Voltage Anodic Electrolysis

Etching of and tone creation on metals can be carried out by an ecologically sound method that avoids the use of acids and rosin. The method uses direct-current anodic etching, at very low voltages, in a bath of an aqueous electrolyte whose cation corresponds to the metal to be etched.

“Life Music”: The Sonification of Proteins “Life Music”: The Sonification of Proteins

An artist and a biologist have collaborated on the sonification of protein data to produce the audio compact disc “Life Music.” Here they describe the process by which this collaboration merges scientific knowledge and artistic expression to produce soundscapes from the basic building blocks of life. The soundscapes may be encountered as aesthetic experiences, as scientific inquiries or as both. The authors describe the rationale both for the artistic use of science and for the scientific use of art from the separate viewpoints of artist and scientist.

Transparency and Reflection as Entities in Sculpture of Carved Acrylic Resin Transparency and Reflection as Entities in Sculpture of Carved Acrylic Resin

Inspired by Oriental carvings in transparent rock crystal, the author attempted to carve this form of quartz but without success because of its hardness. The availability of clear polymethyl methacrylate (an acrylic synthetic resin), slabs of which can be bonded to make large blocks, led him to use this material for transparent sculpture beginning in 1968. Although the main property that originally attracted him to this acrylic resin is its optical clarity, he finds it alone is of limited aesthetic significance. When the eye is attracted to a shape in clear acrylic resin, this is to a great extent due to the object’s brilliance. This brilliance is present only when light is reflected from the object’s internal and external surfaces, as from mirrors, to the observer. He concludes that reflection and transparency should be added as separate entities to the generally accepted concepts of sculptural form.

Liquid Crystals: A New Material for Artists Liquid Crystals: A New Material for Artists

Liquid crystals have the unusual property of responding to changes in temperature with striking changes in colour. Since these changes can also take place in the range of room temperatures, the crystals have potential value for artists. These organic materials seem to possess two sharp and distinct melting points between which they are said to be in the ‘liquid crystal’ state. Liquid crystals are classified as nematic, smectic and cholesteric, depending on their molecular structure. Cholesteric liquid crystals, which are composed of cholesterol ester derivatives with eccentric molecular structures, are the most interesting. They respond not only to variations of temperature but also to mechanical stress, electromagnetic radiation and chemical environment with chamelion-like colour changes. The combination of colours exhibited by a particular liquid crystal depends on its chemical composition, on the magnitude of the applied stress and on the relative angles of illumination and viewing. A recent process, called encapsulation, permits liquid crystals to be produced in a convenient form which is durable and easy to use. The techniques of application of the liquid crystals as surface coatings are presented and current uses of these materials are outlined. Possible future developments are also mentioned but the question of how liquid crystals may be used by artists is left open.

Chemigram: A New Approach to Lensless Photography Chemigram: A New Approach to Lensless Photography

The author describes his lensless photographic technique which he calls the chemigram technique. His research, in which chance plays an important role, is characterised by a displacement of the values of each step in making a photograph. Usually, a photograph is produced through exposure to light, and the subsequent chemical operations contribute only to making the latent image permanently visible. But, for the author, the latter become the generator of the image. Light takes on a secondary role. The essential elements in his work are: photosensitive materials, chemical solutions and localizing materials. The techniques are para-photographic; they are more related to engraving, painting, lithography, etc. than to photography itself.

Protein Sculptures: Life’s Building Blocks Inspire Art Protein Sculptures: Life’s Building Blocks Inspire Art

The author takes a literal look at the foundation of our physical existence by creating sculptures of proteins, the universal parts of the machinery of life. For him, it is less important to copy a molecule accurately in all its details than to find a guiding principle and follow it to see whether it yields artistically interesting results. The main idea underlying these sculptures is the analogy between the technique of mitered cuts and protein folding. The sculptures offer a sensual experience of a world that is usually accessible only through the intellect.

An Artist’s Atom An Artist’s Atom

The author discusses his ongoing artwork visualized with the help of a graphics computer. Because quantum physics is mathematical and non-pictorial, most people find it difficult to understand how the atom’s electron structure works. The artist’s purpose is to develop an architecture for the atom, a model appealing to the visual mind. Through his artwork he attempts to aid in the visualization of the building block of matter, the atom.

An Artist Explores the Concept of Levels in Matter An Artist Explores the Concept of Levels in Matter

The idea that particles make atoms, atoms make molecules, and molecules make visible matter–matter that lives and thinks–is basic to a scientific understanding of the universe. While working with hexagons and pondering this hierarchy, the author discovered two surprising circular arrangements of these levels that may shed light on how we think when using these concepts.

The Use of Artistic Analogies in Chemical Research and Education The Use of Artistic Analogies in Chemical Research and Education

The use of analogies in research and education facilitates the cognitive process by establishing connections between the familiar and the unknown. A sample of examples discussed in this article includes works by Degas and Matisse, folk embroideries and balloon clusters as well as molecular properties, such as geometry, motion and packing. The use of analogies is one of the many facets of the potential interactions between art an science.

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The Use of Artistic Analogies in Chemical Research and Education, Part 2 The Use of Artistic Analogies in Chemical Research and Education, Part 2

This compilation presents examples of artistic artifacts that have served as successful visual analogies to aspects of chemistry. The authors have used them in various college-level chemistry classes, outreach programs and chemistry textbooks, as well as in journals and monographs. They include ancient Chinese, Turkish and Thai sculptures, modern sculptures and a medieval fresco. These examples illustrate the chemical concept of chirality, the periodic table of the elements and molecular systems such as buckminsterfullerene, nanotubes and quasicrystals.

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Structural Elements of Dynamical Chemical Patterns Structural Elements of Dynamical Chemical Patterns

A large variety of regular and irregular spatio-temporal patterns may form when chemical reactions are coupled with transport processes (diffusion, hydrodynamic flow). The patterns evolve and prevail under conditions far from thermodynamic equilibrium in that there is continuous influx of physical or chemical energy. Due to this openness, they are considered model cases for living systems in biology. The dynamics of pattern evolution is governed by nonlinear interactions. In spatial concentration distributions, several geometrical shapes predominate. Their structural elements are singular points, branching points, bands, circles, spirals, helices. These elements and compositions thereof are also found in biology. The authors discuss the significance of regulatory principles in the creation of spatial complexity, which often reveal remarkable aesthetic aspects.

The Crystal Interface in Contemporary Art: Metaphors of the Organic and Inorganic The Crystal Interface in Contemporary Art: Metaphors of the Organic and Inorganic

What the author calls the “crystal interface” presents an opportunity to historicize and theorize the remarkable fascination with crystals found in contemporary art theory and practice. In aesthetics, science and art production, the crystal materializes intimations of transparency, of vitalistic transformation or of a purist stability. It powerfully articulates a line or gradation between the organic and inorganic. The author’s goal is to create a context in which to understand the recourse to the crystal in contemporary art, specifically in the work of Roger Hiorns, David Altmejd and Gerard Caris. As a frame, the author examines Schopenhauer’s, Worringer’s and Deleuze and Guattari’s adoption of the crystal as metaphor and material exemplar.