The great thing about blogging, as I am discovering, is that it is a really easy medium to rapidly convey thoughts of the blogger (me). So please indulge me as I briefly share my recent excursion into the world of art via nanotechnology.
Today’s (April 21, 2009) Nano@Tech speaker was Michael Oliveri, an Associate Professor of Art at the University of Georgia. If there ever was a renaissance man, Michael could audition for the role. In his one hour with us (one of the largest turnouts in recent memory), he touched on agriculture, biology, chemistry, cosmology, materials science, and space science (in alphabetical order), among his many topics, to illustrate (pun intended) what he termed curiosity-based research. More specifically, Michael was here to discuss his ongoing investigations and research (and I use this term specifically) into using nanotech imaging tools (SEM) for creating artistic renderings of natural and synthetic materials. As Michael communicated, however, art is not just a pretty picture, but context plays a role, and some of his most awe-inspiring images are of “landscapes” created from SEM photographs. I show one example here, but you can see more at Michael’s website. The discussion later turned to biomimicry and nature-inspired design.
A short description of Michael Oliveri’s collaboration with Prof. Zhengwei Pan (UGA, Physics) can be found in the article “Postcards from Innerspace” in Chemical and Engineering News (November 24, 2008, Volume 86, Number 47, pp. 40-41).
Finally, aside from the fascinating images and dialogue, I was just as delighted by the interactions among artists, engineers, and even biologists, as I view the Nano@Tech setting as an opportunity to foster creative thinking and innovation via interdisciplinary conversation and collaboration. As I showed Michael some of the tools we have available in the Pettit building, and the vastness and scale of the Marcus building (and gallery), additional opportunities for interaction became obvious. I know all scientists and engineers think their work is elegant and beautiful, but it is nice to have independent confirmation of this as well.