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Science and Art

28 Mar 2016, 07:01 UTC
Science and Art
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

The broad fields of science and art are often considered disparate, mutually exclusive, and hardly complementary. That’s a short-sighted view I’ll try to dispel today. This is a little off-topic for Sky Lights, but ultimately suggests a strategy for drawing the interest of non-scientists to science — regardless of age. And Sky Lights is always about education.
The image above is a classic example. It’s a mobile by Alexander Calder, and combines the science of mechanics with the art of sculpture. I had the privilege of seeing some of Calder’s work in a visiting exhibit at the Milwaukee Museum of Art in the late 1960s. Calder did dozens of these pieces.
Mobiles are fascinating to watch. The centers of mass of all suspended objects are precisely balanced. Even in a closed room, natural air currents set a mobile into motion. The appearance changes in a choreographed display of kinetic art.
Other sciences and arts have been combined. The science isn’t always as obvious as with mobiles, but it’s there:

optics and jewelry design: The facets cut into gems enhance their brilliance using the laws of light refraction, reflection, and dispersion. This technique was developed in the Middle East ca. ...

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