Physics and the Arts

Most people do not think of science and the arts mixing much, but I have been getting many lessons lately from Kristin at So I was primed to appreciate the story on sculpture inspired by science in the latest issue of Symmetry magazine. The sculptures reminded me of the sculptures by Robert Wilson who was the first director of Fermilab. The lab has a variety of sculptures on the grounds done by Wilson himself, and the architecture was also influenced by Wilson's artistic side. The control room of the proton experimental area is described as

A stylized black pagoda sitting on legs twenty-six feet tall identifies the Proton Laboratory. A yellow spiral staircase, representing the double helix strand of the DNA molecule, leads from the ground to the second level.

I worked in that area back in 1978, and it was quite striking.

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2 Responses to “Physics and the Arts”

  1. Incidentally, the Symmetry magazine article was written by the same Raven Hanna who makes the molecular earrings, in case you didn’t notice!

    I’ve noted more than a few physicists who have an affinity for sculpture, by the way. There are the two examples here, and then there’s Jens Zorn, physicist and father of the Chicago Tribune columnist and blogger Eric Zorn, who also makes sculptures. And another student in my graduate lab group who has gone on to success in the field of microscopic force measurement talked about he preferred sculpture to two-dimensional work.

    So, I wasn’t musical or sculptural…maybe those were two hints that I was really a humanities person only masquerading as a physicist? I feel more and more like maybe I was always an outlier…

  2. I noticed Raven’s byline after I posted the entry.

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