Author Archives: michelebanks1

The Art of Science: Popsicles Go Viral

Wei Li, Dangerous Popsicles, 2014

Wei Li, Dangerous Popsicles, 2014

Lick a virus? Probably not a good idea, unless it’s a Dangerous Popsicle, a sweet treat created by artist and designer Wei Li.  Li decided to play with the “aesthetics of user-unfriendliness” by taking something we would ordinarily never put in our mouths (not on purpose anyway) and inviting us to do just that.

Li created the popsicles by first making 3D prints of HIV, chicken pox and flu viruses and MRSA and E. coli bacteria. Then she created silicone molds of them  and filled them with colored, flavored, sugary water. Li created a short video of the project and posted an Instructable online so all you microbiologists can make these for your next party.

Science Caturday: Partial Eclipse of the Cat

This week featured a partial eclipse of the sun, a rare celestial event.  Phil Plait, aka @BadAstronomer, has a gallery of great eclipse photos at Slate, but we took a more artistic approach and had a science kitteh reenact the dramatic moment.

eclipse

 

The Art of Science: Claire Moynihan’s Beautiful Bugs

Dragonfly by Claire Moynihan, Mixed Media, 2012

Dragonfly Ball by Claire Moynihan, Mixed Media, 2012

British textile artist Claire Moynihan riffs on traditional insect collections with her “bug balls” – tiny hand-embroideries of insects on felted wool balls. Moynihan uses a variety of embroidery techniques and materials which allow her to produce highly dimensional effects. She then mounts the balls in cases like old-fashioned entomological collections – or perhaps boxes of candies. She exhibits her work at art fairs and through Byard Art in Cambridge, England.

Claire Moynihan, Moth Balls II, Mixed Media, 2013

Claire Moynihan, Moth Balls II, Mixed Media, 2013

Science Caturday: LOLCatCare

you may leave now

This week, tech giants Apple and Facebook announced that they would begin covering the cost of egg freezing for their employees, allowing female techies to put off childbearing until…some more convenient time, I guess. However, the fact remains that some employees will want to have kids, and Facebook’s new headquarters will provide daycare for dogs but not for children. Someone’s got to take care of the small humans! Luckily, I have devised an elegant solution that combines the best of the internet with real life: LOLCatCare™.

A crack team of cat nannies will care for the babies of Silicon Valley until they are old enough for preschool. Tasks such as feeding and changing babies, which are difficult for childcare workers without opposable thumbs, will be rendered unnecessary by training babies to eat and drink from bowls on the floor and use a litter box. Babies will gain key motor skills by chasing feathers and red dots. Blankets and boxes will be thoroughly investigated. Naptime, of course, will be led by top-level experts.

I see no way this plan can fail. You’re welcome, America. You’re welcome.

The Art of Science: Density Fluctuations

Crustacean 11

Ellyn Weiss, Unidentified Specimen, Wax and Pigment

Concepts of time and change center the work of three artists in a show entitled Density Fluctuations that opened yesterday at the American Center for Physics in College Park, MD. The exhibition features work inspired by physics and biology by Shanthi Chandrasekar, Stephen Schiff and Ellyn Weiss in a variety of media. Chandrasekar, who studied physics before becoming a painter, explores the differences in the understanding of time as expressed in science and myth. Stephen Schiff morphs photographs, starting with images of nature and multiplying them and reconfiguring them like cells to create new, complex geometries. Ellyn Weiss uses layers of wax and pigment to create her imagined versions of creatures discovered by science as layers of ice melt. The intriguing shapes of her sculptures hint at unknown species of animals or strange mineral deposits. Together, the work of these three beguiling artists in approaching such heady topics is sure to provide plenty of food for thought.

Density Fluctuations is on display at the American Center for Physics until April 2015. More information is here.

Shanthi Chandrasekar, Chakra-Neer, Acrylic on Canvas

Shanthi Chandrasekar, Chakra-Neer, Acrylic on Canvas