Science and Art

January 26, 2012 - May 5, 2013

What does Origami have to do with geometry? Why is a worm considered art to some? How is music created from a micro-chip? And how can a nanometer of water become a fun, interactive experience? All these questions and more will be answered in the new Science & Art exhibition.

You can see, hear and interact with works of art that illustrate how science and art intersect in real life. As you make their way through the exhibit, you're encouraged to listen to your inner scientist and indulge your inner artist.

Science & Art, created by the Arkansas Discovery Network, is organized into five "mini" exhibits featuring projects created by artists who have specific masteries in scientific areas. The displays are designed to show that art and science aren't the same thing but have much in common. You will also experience how art can be used to convey scientific ideas and phenomena and will experience science from a fresh point of view.

The first stop in the gallery features Origami sculpture work by Robert Lang, Ph.D., one of the world's leading origami masters with more than 500 designs catalogued and diagrammed. Lang's work shows how following simple folding rules and some basic mathematical principals allows the creation of a complex and beautiful 3D world of art made from paper. You may fold your own work of art to take home or leave for display in the gallery's "visitor art" section.

Next, you will be directed to the "Beautiful Worm," which combines biology and photography, offering a unique window into the world of scientific research as interpreted through art. This part of the exhibit showcases research of the C. elegans worm by Ahna Skop, Ph.D., assistant professor of genetics at the University of Wisconsin. A real microscope with video head allows you to look at live specimens and illustrates what researchers such as Skop have learned from this creature.

You will also enjoy the creations of 1-Bit Music inventor Tristan Perich. The 1-Bit is part art, part physics and part mathematics. 1-Bit compositions are delivered to listeners via an on/off switch, micro-chip, battery, earphone jack and volume control all squeezed into a plastic CD case.

Wearable computers can also be found on display in "Science & Art." Leah Buechley, assistant professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), uses electronics and textiles to build soft wearable computers. A display of Buechley's work allows you to select and see the different LED display patterns designed and programmed into the fabric.

Rounding out the exhibit is electronic artist and computer scientist Scott Snibbe who introduces you to the concept of the nano-scale. "Three Drops," is a multimedia experience that requires participants to move in front of a large screen to interact with projections of water at the macro, micro and then nano-scale and allows you to experience how the physical properties of water change at these three different scales

This exhibition is supported in part by the Friends of the Reading Museum and the Bruce and Reneé Dietrich Endowment Funds.

The Arkansas Discovery Network, an innovative network of six museums and educational centers in Arkansas, focuses on making hands-on, interactive museum experiences more accessible to the state's schoolchildren and their families. The museums support each other by sharing operational strategies, collaborating with teachers and expanding educational programs.