Is it an art or is it a science? Many have pondered this question, but often without satisfying conclusions. Now, NYU scientists and the Village’s Burger Joint have teamed up to offer their answer to this age-old question: an art show that enlarges microscopic data into compelling images.
The gallery, which will be on display through the month of June, launches with an opening reception on Thurs., June 5, 7 p.m. at the Burger Joint (33 W. 8th Street [at MacDougal]). The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 212.432.1400.
Reporters interested in attending the event must RSVP to James Devitt, NYU’s Office of Public Affairs, at 212.998.6808 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chemists and physicists operate in a microscopic universe, with their research focused on understanding and manipulating the smallest components of matter. Much of this work centers on colloids—small particles suspended within a fluid medium. Colloidal dispersions are composed of such everyday items such as paint, milk, gelatin, glass, and porcelain. By better understanding colloidal self-organization, scientists have the potential to harness these particles and create new and enhanced materials.
But what is of interest to scientists for research purposes may also have artistic possibilities.
“The inspiration for the gallery came from a bar tender at the Burger Joint, who is also an artist,” explains Kazem Edmond, a post-doctoral research fellow at NYU’s Center for Soft Matter Research who organized the exhibition. “When she asked what I work on, I showed her some microscope images from my phone. She was impressed and suggested we print them out and hang them up at the bar. I realized I'd lost sight of what non-science people would think of the weird things that we work on and see everyday in the lab.”
The show features 33 images—in shapes and colors that call to mind the works of Kandinsky and Escher—from students, post-doctoral fellows, and faculty in NYU’s departments of physics and chemistry. The images, typically two ft. wide, magnify particles as small as a red blood cell up to 100,000 times their actual size.
“I hope people in the neighborhood find the pictures interesting, even if only in passing,” says Edmond. “I hope they realize that science can look really cool and doesn't have to be boring or impossibly complicated or rely heavily on obtuse mathematical theorems.”
The show is supported by funding from NYU’s Center for Soft Matter Research as well as from NYU’s Department of Physics and NYU's Materials Research Science and Engineering Center.
The exhibit will be open for viewing during the Burger Joint’s operating hours: Sunday-Thursday, noon to 11 p.m., and Friday-Saturday, noon to midnight.