May 3, 2013

By Steve Koppes

Recipients of the University of Chicago’s 2013 Arts | Science Graduate Collaboration Grants will present the fruits of their projects from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 8, in the penthouse of the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. The event is free and open to the public and a reception will follow.

The Arts | Science Collaboration Grants for up to $3,000 encourage independent, cross-disciplinary research between students in the arts and sciences. The grants were launched by the Arts | Science Initiative in 2011 and receive support from the Office of the Vice President for Research and for National Laboratories.

Each collaboration consists of two or more graduate students, with at least one from the arts and one from the sciences, who have worked together since January to investigate a subject from the perspectives offered by their disciplines.

“This Arts | Science Initiative asks: Can the arts and the sciences enrich and influence each other’s questions, tools, methodologies and specific curiosities?” said program director Julie Marie Lemon. “These graduate collaboration teams exemplify the ability of our students to explore the possibilities that can result from bringing radically different subjects and approaches together. These future scholars and practitioners have tread nimbly to create a space — a location — to experiment within our institutional setting through direct dialogue and interaction.”

Five teams of students received 2013 collaboration grants and will be presenting on Wednesday, May 8:

Anthony Adcock, visual arts; Samuel Meehan, physics; and Joao Pequemao, multimedia specialist, CERN, Switzerland, “An Artistic Collision.”

Adcock, Meehan and Pequemao created a “collision” of visual art and particle physics, emerging from the collision of subatomic particles at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider in Geneva. Adcock has painted a series of panels to represent the subatomic phenomena that Meehan studies. The project will take the audience from the theorist’s chalkboard to the subatomic interactions of the experiments that yield fundamental scientific insights into the universe.

Jen Smoose, visual arts; and Scott Waitukaitis, physics, “Wishful Permutation.”

Smoose and Waitukaitis wondered what would happen if the energy and information that Earth receives from the sun was generated by sound instead of light. Their Wishful Permutation is a sculptural work that re-interprets sunlight collected from online databases into radiated sound in the gallery. This work will be included in the MFA Thesis Exhibitions on display during the Spring Quarter in the Logan Center for the Arts Gallery.

Sophia Rhee, visual arts; and Ty Turley, economics, “No Man’s Land: Reinterpreting Land Use Behavior through Mende Folktales in Sierre Leone.”

Rhee and Turley investigated how farmers in Sierra Leone respond to Western donors who seek change in land-use patterns by investing in carbon markets. The project contrasts local conceptions of appropriate land use with the policy efforts of economists and non-governmental organizations to encourage conservation. A film, shot in rural Sierra Leone with the help of local folk performance artists and farmers, focuses on Mende folktales that reflect appropriate land use.

Francisco Castillo Trigueros, music; and Josiah Zayner, biochemistry & molecular biology, “The Chromochord.”

Trigueros and Zayner’s project exemplifies the intimate linkage of music, science and technology throughout history. They have used protein nanotechnology to develop a musical biosensor that allows people to both hear and see the chemical reactions of a light-responsive protein. They also created a public audio-visual installation with their musical biosensor. They are making their device hardware schematics and software freely available to the public as open source materials.

Rebekah Baglini, linguistics; and Jonathan Schroeder, English, “Historical Transformation of the Word ‘Nostalgia.’”

Baglini and Schroeder sought to reconstruct the historical transformation of the word “nostalgia” from its entrance into the English language in the late 18th century as a medical pathology term until the moment it assumed its modern definition in the early 20th century. They have built a digital database from public domain documents posted on the Web to construct a quantitatively precise account of the evolution of “nostalgia.”

Click here to view a set of short videos on these projects on YouTube.

This article originally appeared in UChicago News.