Back in my high school, and maybe yours too, kids naturally separated into cliques—jocks, punks, preppies, hippies, and at the extremes of the mythical left- and right-hemisphere brain spectrum, nerds and the artsy types. The latter two never spoke to each other. The rest of us rarely talked to either of them. Too bad. We all shared more than we realized.
Similar thoughts had simmered for years in Whitney Bernstein, a graduate student in the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography. So she initiated cross-clique conversations with Michael MacMahon, an art student, and Lizzie Kripke, who studies neuroscience and painting. Together, they fashioned an experiment called Synergy: Take eight artists, pair them with scientists, and get them talking with each other to create science-inspired works of art that could also spark interest in science in others.
The art that has emerged will be displayed Feb. 16 to June 2, 2013, at the Museum of Science in Boston. Participating artists and scientists will convene at the museum for panel discussions and tours, 1 to 3 p.m., March 3.
That’s the short story. You can read a longer one below. And you can view multimedia profiles of the scientist/artist pairings produced by Ari Daniel Shapiro and Amanda Kowalski—four presented this week and four more next week. Shapiro earned a Ph.D. in the MIT/WHOI Joint Program studying killer whales and has since become a journalist/artist telling science stories, a living example of how the twain can meet.
Jonathan Fincke uses sound to investigate plankton in ocean. Nathalie Miebach creates sculptures based on scientific data. Mark McNulty, a sound artist, creates sound pieces based on scientific data.
From Bloom to Book
Sophie Clayton studies how ocean currents shape phytoplankton communities. Elizabeth Halliday recently earned a Ph.D. in biological oceanography. Janine Wong is an architect, graphic designer, and book artist.
Immensity in Minuteness
Jill McDermott is an MIT/WHOI graduate student who studies seafloor hydrothermal vents. Bryan McFarlane is an artist who works on large-scale oil paintings.
Ellie Bors studies deep-sea life. Laurie Kaplowitz creates mixed-media drawings and paintings.