The Analytical Engine, Plan 25

"The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace & Babbage" by Sydney PaduaMy copy of Sydney Padua’s The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace & Babbage is supposed to arrive next week (21 April 2015). I’m a little excited. As regular patrons of The Finch & Pea know, I’m just a little bit of a fan of her work*.

Until then (or until the copy you just ordered arrives), you contemplate the complexity and beauty of the completed analytical engine (if only in Padua’s imagination) at The Guardian.  You can also read about the development of the illustration and the choice of color palette at Padua’s own site.

*Mutual appreciation society

Science for the People: Impossible Space

sftpThis week Science for the People is exploring the limits of science exploration in both fictional and fact. We’re joined by “lifelong space nerd” Andy Weir, to talk about his debut novel The Martian (and soon to be film, trailer below), that pits human invenitveness and ingenuity against the unforgiving environment of the red planet. And astrophysicist and science blogger Ethan Siegel returns to explore so-called “impossible space engines“, and what news stories about them can teach us about journalism and science literacy.

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

Art of Science: Jessica Lloyd-Jones Sculpts the Body Electric

Jessica Lloyd-Jones, Optic Nerve  2008 - 2010.              Blown glass, xenon
Jessica Lloyd-Jones, Optic Nerve 2008 – 2010.
Blown glass, xenon

Welsh artist Jessica Lloyd-Jones describes her work as merging art, science and technology. All three are certainly present in her sculpture series Anatomical Neon, which she made from 2008-2010. Lloyd-Jones describes the works on her website:

“Blown glass human organs encapsulate inert gases displaying different colors under the influence of an electric current. The human anatomy is a complex, biological system in which energy plays a vital role. Brain Wave conveys neurological processing activity as a kinetic and sensory, physical phenomena through its display of moving electric plasma. Optic Nerve shows a similar effect, more akin to the blood vessels of the eye and with a front ‘lens’ magnifying the movement and the intensity of light. Heart is a representation of the human heart illuminated by still red neon gas. Electric Lungs is a more technically intricate structure with xenon gas spreading through its passage ways, communicating our human unawareness of the trace gases we inhale in our breathable atmosphere.”

Although these pieces are beautiful in photographs, they are much more amazing in motion, so I urge you to visit Lloyd-Jones’ website and see her short videos of the pieces as the chemical light flickers through the organs. (I mean, seriously, check out the Optic Nerve). These pieces give gorgeous, graphic life to the chemical impulses shooting through our bodies and powering our minds.

#SciArt Tweetstorm

Rainbow Microbes by Michele Banks
Rainbow Microbes by Michele Banks

The Grand Poobah’s of science art at the Symbiartic science art blog have declared 1-7 March to be the week of the science art tweetstrom using the hashtag #sciart.

Here at The Finch & Pea we currently have 181 “Art of Science” posts (well 182 now), or 30 per day for the the rest of the week. That should keep y’all busy.

Art of Science: Sonja Hinrichsen’s Snow Drawings

Snow Drawing, Briancon, France, 2014. Photo by Sonja Hinrichsen

Artists whose work engages with the environment often gather materials from nature – branches, dirt, soil or leaves. Sonja Hinrichsen’s art supplies simply drop from the sky. Hinrichsen creates beautiful, ephemeral artworks using snow.

Her Snow Drawings are a series of designs that are “walked into” pristine snow surfaces with snowshoes. Hinrichsen creates the design and a group of volunteers strap on snowshoes and make it. The artist then documents the work in photographs and video.

Hinrichsen says her Snow Drawings, which she has been making since 2009 in the US and Europe, “correspond with and accentuate the landscape, and I hope that they help arouse appreciation and consciousness for the natural world.”  She says she prefers to create immersive but ephemeral experiences rather than objects.

The drawing shown above was created in February 2014 in Briancon, in the Valley of Serre Chevalier, a skiing area in the French Alps. The piece was created over two days with the help of approximately 70 participants from the surrounding communities.

You can read more about these and other projects by Sonja Hinrichsen at her website.

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