Category Archives: The Art of Science

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 for the People: Science & Shakespeare

sftpThis week, Science for the People looks at the way science influenced the work of the greatest author in English, and what modern scholars think about its origins. We’re joined by journalist and author Dan Falk, to talk about his book The Science of Shakespeare: A New Look at the Playwright’s Universe. And we’ll speak to Shakespeare scholar and blogger Stanley Wells, for his perspective on the question of who actually wrote Shakespeare’s works.

*Josh provides research help to Science for the People and is, therefore, completely biased.

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

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

The Art of Science: Beautiful Chemistry


Today is Chemistry Nobel day, so it’s a perfect time to spotlight a new site that explores the beauty of chemistry though ultra-high-definition videos and interactive graphics. Beautiful Chemistry is a collaborative project by the University of Science and Technology of China and Tsinghua University Press.

The Beautiful Reactions section features videos taken with a 4K UltraHD camera and special lenses to capture chemical reactions in remarkable detail.  The Beautiful Structures page uses computer graphics and interactive technology to showcase some of the most classic and beautiful chemical structures, including crystals, DNA and amorphous solids.

Beautiful Chemistry, which launched last month, hopes to use digital media and technology “to bring the beauty and wonder from the chemistry world to a wide audience. In addition, we want to achieve a unique aesthetic of chemistry, making chemistry approachable and lovable.” You can find more information on the video techniques and coming attractions on the Beautiful Chemistry blog.