About the Book

Edited by Tami I. Spector, Art and Atoms explores the cutting edge of the chemical sciences, art and aesthetics (see the call for papers). Bringing together 25 articles and 36 authors from the Leonardo Journal (MIT Press) archives it focuses on contemporary chemistry in its interconnections with art and technology. These include a number published in the special sections “Nanotechnology, Nanoscale Science and Art” (Tami I. Spector and Tom Rockwell, editors) and “Nano: Art, Science, Tech” (Kathryn D. de Ridder-Vignone, editor). Tracking chemistry through the forty years of Leonardo archives reveals a chronological transformation in the manifestations of “chemistry and art.” In general, the earliest papers, from the 1960’s and 70’s, concern themselves with the development of new chemicals and chemically based methods for creating art – see for example, “Liquid Crystals: A New Material for Artists” by Rein Lemberg. Many of the more recent papers, like Mark A Cheetham’s “The Crystal Interface in
Contemporary Art: Metaphors of the Organic and Inorganic” have a theoretical slant, with the most recent emphasizing Nanoscience. Based on this trend the articles in this e-book fall naturally into the following four topic areas: Chemical Materiality and Art, Atomic and Molecular Representations, Chemical Concepts, Analogy and Metaphor, and Nanoscience.

The eBook was produced in partnership with Leonardo/International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology and MIT Press.

About the Site

The site content is edited by Tami I. Spector, Professor of Chemistry, University of San Francisco with assistance from Amy Ione, Managing Editor for e-books published by Leonardo Initiatives and Pamala Grant-Ryan, Associate Director, Leonardo Publications. The layout and design of the Art and Atoms web site has been developed under  the direction of University of Texas, Dallas Distinguished Professor of Arts and Technology Professor Roger F. Malina and implemented by Max Mechanic and AJ Klein.

About Leonardo

Leonardo/The International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology is a multidisciplinary nonprofit organization that serves the global network of distinguished scholars, artists and researchers through our programs focused on creative output and innovation. From its beginnings, Leonardo/ISAST has been a key content provider to the community, both in its role as a networking hub and through its publications program — our journals (Leonardo and LMJ) and the Leonardo Book Series (published by MIT Press), websites and projects on evolving digital platforms. We produce workshops and events such as the popular LASER (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous) series, and we connect scientists, technologists and artists with collaborating partners and industry. We also serve the community with a number of Art/Science programs and initiatives — our Affiliates are our key partners in these activities. (See our Projects page for more details and additional programs and projects.)

Tami Spector is a Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of San Francisco. Trained as a physical organic chemist, her scientific work has focused on fluorocarbons, the transformations of strained ring organics, and the molecular dynamics and free energy calculations of biomolecular systems. She has also published and presented work on the molecular aesthetics of disease, John Dalton and the aesthetics of molecular representation, the visual image of chemistry, and the relationship between chemistry and contemporary visual art. She serves on the Leonardo/ISAST governing and editorial boards, as the treasurer for the International Society for the Philosophy of Chemistry (ISPC) and co-hosts the San Francisco based Leonardo Arts Sciences Evening Rendezvous’ (LASERs).