Sunday, November 1, 2015

Re: [Yasmin_discussions] Why artists residencies in field stations and labs can benefit scientific research


I will injetc some fuel to the discussion, even may be all of this is very

I´m totally fascinated about "old science", some of my post in Piratas de
la Ciencia blog speaks about this old science and their connection to
nowadays work. At the same time i use this 19 century experiments in my
lectures to the art students, and their connections to nowadays technology.
I think in past centuries this art/sci connection where very usual. So, for
example, some discoveries that are related to art/sci connections:

- There is a link between lanscape art and new Bokode technology ( As we know Morse
was a landscape painter, but at the same time was very interested in the
electromagnetic effects and machines. He was focused to develop telegraph
and he invented the Morse code. This code was used afterwards by Woodland
to develope barcodes. And these ideas finally were used in mit medialab to
develop Bokodes, a new labeling techniques with interaction with artists
and scienctis. If you can read spanish i writed a post about this here

- There is another very interesting history in the 19 century. Sir Charles
Wheatsone was a great physicist in this century. One of his interests was
to measure the speed of electrical current. To do it he develope a very
interesting technique based on spark sincronications. Even the speed of the
electrical current was not measured very well, he develop this light spark
sincronization that was very interesting for now a days fast recordings
technologies (like streak camera adquisitions). It is very interesting that
he developed before the kaleidophone, to translate sound modes into light
patterns. He has an important musical education (like Herschel, that was
music composer and great physicist in the 18 century, discovering IR
radiation and planets). You can read my post (spanish) here:

- Leon Theremin was one of this very famous art/sci (Hybrid researcher).
Appart from his interesting musical instrument, he developed another
invention that fascinates me, which was called " The thing". This was a
passive RFID label, used to spy in the beggining of the cold war between
USA and URSS. This was a listening device, that for sure needed ideas and
concepts from sound manipulation and radiofrecuency emission. We can take a
look of the wikipedia page ( We have
now many active and passive RFID labels everywere. I don´t have a post for
this, but will write one, covering many RFID technologies until nowadays.

I know that these are old examples, but are examples with great impact in
society and technology, that for sure changed our brains, matter and
societies. But i like as well because this kind of research in "old"
technology can help to develop low cost labs, and do simillar things than:

Which is, for sure, spaces to create art/sci collaborations.

In another point of view, out of these great sucesses with well know
researchers, i have my own and little experience of the outputs working
with art/sci collaborations:

- Las summer i worked with a musician to develop a sonification of Quantum
Dot light emission. This has interesting outputs: 1) We made a translation
into sound of quantum confinement and coulombic correlations. It is very
different to "see" this effects in screen, than to "listen" in speaker. It
was quite amazing. Translation is not the same, so relations are different.
2) This help to us to visualize a different kind of data base, for Quantum
Dots. A kind of catalog, based on sound. There are many interesting papers
in scientific literature that create this labeling, but with visual
labellings (for example, you can see at For
example this kind of data base could be played at places like this:

I have the pleasure to show to you an example of this QD translation, as my
colleague Eathan Janney develop a webpage with many of the works done in
our last Scientific Delirium Madness residency. So, the work with quantum
dots is:

(if you want to travel around different works you can visit:

- During last years i was collaborating with Visual Arts and Multimedia
Master in lectures and in the organization of the Art/Science/City
congress. In this two years, we developed some actions to reinforce the
communication and the collaborations with art and science students. On of
the mosts suscesfull examples of the collaboration comes from Germán Torres
and Marcos Garcia, who develop a cloaking experiment. In fact i learned a
lot with this, because i didn´t know that you can make a really simple
cloaking device with lenses. Another time, this is not high technology, and
can be developed with low costs. In my experience this helps to include
social issues to science engagement and science communication, and help to
learn physics, as i must confes that when i read cloaking i always think on
metamaterials and very sophisticated experiements. You can read the paper
presented at the ASC conference at page 279 on this link (you have an
sbstract in english):

- Following in this low cost technologies and in continouos learning, in my
lectures i was asked for light detection with LED (light emiting diodes). I
said: no, you are wrong, for detection is not used LEDs, is used
photodiodes. But, we were right both. For sure photodiodes is the best
solution for detecting light, as the semiconductor heterostructure is
designed to do this, but LEDs are same semiconductor heterostructure (even
not exactly the same because the role is to emmit light, not to detect).
When i revised i learned that LEDs can be used to emmit and detect light at
the same time, even the detection is not enhanced (they are very bad
detectors). In fact LED´s are used to develop very low cost and low range
sensing and communication (may be used for micro-satellites?). You can read
here: So, in this
sense, this art/sci helps to learn more physics (even this time it was only
my ignorance), but to reinforce the lack of education. So, when different
experts are put together, we reinforce the education and cover many missing

I have simillar example with AFM microscopy, when we included some artists
in an educational program for Atomic Force Microscopy experimental training
here at Valencia. Our in a workshop that we developed to include metallic
nanoparticles (silver and gold nanoparticles) into glass, where we have a
mixed students, from science and from art. The conclusions are simillar,
you always re-inforce your in-puts and out-puts when working with
differents exprertices.

- May be, one of my significant outputs for art/sci interaction is that
this kind of hybrid research/education give to me multiple in-puts. So, as
i´m writing posts in Piratas de la Ciencia i´m learning (which is not
explained in formal education). The same happens with collaborations with
artists. For example, during the same years that i develope this historical
research for old physics experiments and i develop art/sci teaching and
collaborations. During this i worked in my office with my colleagues
(basically whiteboard discussion, wich in fact is old representational
process) and we developed a new experimental tool to measure the time
resolved light emission. This is now an industrial patent, that uses pulsed
light dispersed by a rotating mirror to a CCD. This seems the old
experiments developed to measure the speed of light, and is simillar than
the streak chamera recording, but with very low cost technology. To me, the
exciting process was to think about detection schemes. This was to old, as
we used old concepts, but even worse, old representation (we still use
cartesian representation), but we thought that the mirror changes space
into time (a kind of projection), and nowadays we have really nice space
detectors (CCD = Charge Coupled Device). In this sense you don´t need
really fast detectors (as used in Time Correlated Card techniques), you
need large enough ( some cm) slow detectors. So, even this was old
technology mixed with new one (which is good to obtain low cost final
technology), and is old cartesian representation, we get nice results (you
can see a video here: , in the video you can not see
the mean inventors Raul Garcia Calzada, Josep Canet Ferrer and me, as in
the video recording i was in San Francisco, Raul in his wedding travel and
Josep in Barcelona, but our leader group made good job ;-) ). But i can not
even dream what we can develop if we use different respesentation
techniques and different used of technology, which for sure enhanced
art/sci interaction gives to us the chance to improve all of these.


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