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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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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