Superposition: physicists and artists in conversation

Ideas become reality

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I met Ben last Saturday to talk through my thinking for the artwork. I was excited to share my ideas but also a little nervous in case they didn’t reflect fully the physics covered in our previous meetings. I shouldn’t have worried; Ben’s wow expression when I revealed the model reassured me. Not only did it mirror the visual aesthetic of the particle detectors and the graphic representation of particle detection, the way in which the work would be fabricated and installed also paralleled the complexities of constructing and siting detectors.

So it’s now time to move full-steam ahead with meeting various fabricators and ordering materials – so far there’s 1.3 kilometres of brass rods and over 60,000 beads and diamantes! It’s going to be another of my hugely labour intensive works – exhausting and oddly rewarding all at the same time!

We’ll be announcing the venue soon – it’s amazing, perfect for the work and will create a unique art experience.

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The search for Atlantis

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Ben and I spent a few hours this afternoon looking for possible underground locations on the web, there are some amazing places out there – crypts, tunnels, dungeons, etc.. I’m keen for the venue to offer an unexpected or unusual journey, where the visitor feels they are embarking on an adventure. I keep thinking about Atlantis; what would greet you if you discovered a lost subterranean city? What would future explorers make of a particle detector, if it was unearthed thousands of years from now? Is my particle physics expedition meeting Indian Jones?   

Lyndall

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Dreaming up all manner of props....

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Our recent meeting focused on how light is generated in the detectors and how the information relating to the detection of individual particles is represented graphically. The time of detection and the particle’s speed  is shown by using the rainbow colour spectrum; the results are extremely visual, artworks in their own right. I’m keen to incorporate Ben’s optimisation plots into my work somehow, I really love the use of colour and like the detectors themselves, the repletion of the circular form. I’ve always had a wee fetish for coloured dots!

I’ve been thinking a bit more about what the resulting work might be, don’t want to get too carried away with ideas just yet though, not until we know where the installation will be. I’d like to incorporate ice and/or water somehow, maybe through either video and/or photography. I’m beginning to feel a little like a set designer on a sci-fi film, dreaming up all manner of props!

Lyndall

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Little worlds inside clear acrylic spheres

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I’ve been doing some web research on particle detectors, they’re all amazing. I love their subterranean quality, in that they’re either under the ground, sea or ice. All rely on darkness in order for light to occur which indicates a particle has been detected. I definitely want to investigate working with light and the circular form (which is repeated in all detectors), hopefully in an underground location, if we can find one! Before our next meeting I want to experiment with making some objects that reflect my thoughts – little worlds inside clear acrylic spheres. Have just worked out how to include light, in a ‘Heath Robinson’ kind of way, using an LED light and watch battery, ingenious! Materials wise I’ll use clear glass beads and diamantes, to play with the light; there’s also something slightly naughty about using low tech materials to reflect cutting edge technology and research. I’m curious to know what Ben will think of them?

Credit: IceCube Collaboration

Credit: Propriety KM3NeT Collaboration. Source.

Lyndall

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Brass, glass and mahogany

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We talked more about contemporary particle physics, detector design and the various methods used to ‘see’ particles – scintillation, ionisation, Cherenkov radiation and magnetic fields. I had done a wee bit of homework before our meeting and found images of these amazing scintillating fibres, which sit nicely with the photos Ben posted for me of wavelength shifting fibres – oh to play with some of these!

Copyright: Luminex® fabrics.

Credit: Fermilab. Source.

Lyndall

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