Felice Frankel on Studio 360

Studio 360 is featuring audio and a slide show narrated by Felice Frankel, science-photographer and co-author of No Small Matter.




(produced by Studio 360's Sarah Lilley)

You may remember Felice and I co-facilitated a session at ScienceOnline2010 last year, discussing science-imagery and metaphor.  We had a great time, and her insights into the physics of the nano-scale are accessible and aesthetically wondrous.  Lots of links here.

Check it out and head over to Studio 360 to comment, or better still pick up No Small Matter by Felice Frankel and George Whitesides-it's a treasure.


- - - - - - - -

Original artwork on
The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under
Creative Commons Licence.
The work above is © Felice Frankel, and the slideshow was produced by Sarah Lilley.



Portfolio
Blog
Print Shop

Art & Science at the Centre for Inquiry

Recently, Pam Walls of the Centre for Inquiry Ontario invited me to join in a group art show with the theme of art & science. I put three pieces in the show, and attempted to sell three others. Admittedly. turnout was slim, and most of the other artists were not there. This could have been because the gallery show was part of a larger conference with a big attending fee, and it wasn't clear anyone could attend the free gallery show - I couldn't figure it out from the website, and asked someone the day-of. Not to grumble overmuch - the people in attendance were interesting and we had a nice evening.

Michelle joined me, and we had a great time, met some interesting people including artist Karyn Wong and her boyfriend Jacob. Karyn's work is pretty fantastic stuff (digital fairies!) so make sure to check it out.

I was also invited to take part in a panel discussion on art and science. This was a packed room, and the participants asked excellent questions of the presenters. Each of us on the panel had about 20 minutes, and I briefly touched on questions like;
How does art give back to science?

Has art been the stimulus of research?
How can anthropomorphizing areas of research help - as in thinking about organelles or particles?

Mostly a few questions from the ScienceOnline09 and ScienceOnline2010, while using a few of my paintings as a springboard to get the audience involved. I managed to generate a few laughs, so I think it went well.

The other two presenters on our panel were pretty amazing. I wish it could have gone longer. Here's the blurb from the CFI site:

11:00 am - 12:30 pm - Panel 2: Science and Art
Can art be turned into a science? Can science be turned into an art? How do science and art influence each other? Plus, we'll explore the intersection of art and design with science and technology.
* Paula Gardner, The Portage Project: Material meets Digital in Mobile Experience
* Roshelle Filart, Selling Science to the Public
* CFI Conference Art Exhibitors, featuring Glendon Mellow, "Art in Awe of Science"


Thanks to Pam Walls and Justin Trottier for a great day!


- - - - - - - -
Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

ScienceOnline2010 tablet workshop; or, playing with Bora's face

Click on the scio10tablet label to see all posts. Many thanks to Darren of the Park Research Center for the enthusiastic help setting up Gimp and the drivers on the session laptop!(picture by Ben Young Landis and tweeted during the session. Thanks Ben!)


After a mad dash from the airport, I settled in at ScienceOnline2010 to do a workshop about digital tablet technology. Bringing two tablets through customs wasn't hard, though I had to explain what they were a number of times.

The two models we played with were a Wacom Bamboo and a Wacom Intuos 3. The Bamboo had been solemnly lent to me by my 8-year old sk8tr nephew who said he was "giving you -no, lending you this on one condition: you bring it back." Fair enough.

Our workshop attendance was relatively small, which was perfect. After a quick introduction to tablets, the group split into two groups of three and began to play. We used Gimp, which as an astonishingly versatile free program able to do many of the things Photoshop and similar programs can do. My hope was that the group would enjoy the pressure sensitivity of the pen and tablet, and begin to think of how that could be fun to make images.

Here are the results of the workshop! (And apologies for the long wait! Has it been 2+ weeks already?These exercises were to allow everyone to get a fee for the pen and tablet, and try a bit with how the sensitivity responds. The initial drawings above were cautious and careful, as it can be disconcerting to move your drawing-hand while looking elsewhere at a screen at the result. This technique however, is a one made popular by the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, a traditional pencil and paper book. It includes exercises doing just this: follow the contours of the object you're drawing, and don't look at the page you are drawing on. It allows your eyes to have time to practice moving in unison with your hand.
Here's the examples when we tried varying the line pressure:

We played with Bora's image a bit. Everyone took a turn on separate layers, including Bora himself adding a dapper aviator's scarf (later made hard to see by the Magic Wand tool).

Original photo:


Completed image:

Many thanks to Janet, Ben, Evelyn, Bora, Allie and John! And Bora's dinosaur.
- - - - - - - -

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.
Work above by conference attendees - thanks for playing everybody!


Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

Art Monday: what's this all about?


While I was at ScienceOnline2010, I was lucky enough to get in another fascinating conversation with Roger Harris. At one point, Roger was telling me about how he had explained the flying trilobites to someone, and I was riveted. It was an explanation I hadn't heard before, not far from my thoughts, but taken in a much more socially relevant direction (there aren't a lot of people more socially relevant than Roger, I suspect).

So what's this all about?

Why would I spend that last 14 years populating my drawings and paintings with trilobites with wings? Lend the concept to my blog's title and theme for the last (almost) 3 years?
What do you think these weird drawings mean to me, enough that I would actually get one tattooed on my left forearm?

I'd love to hear your thoughts and interpretations.


- - - - - - - -

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.


Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

ScienceOnline2010 snaps part 2

Part 1 of the photos can be seen here, or you can see them all on my Flickr photostream.


The tweet board at the opening reception.


Southern Fried Scientist with his friend Charles, out for a walk.


Mr. & Mrs. Cephalopodcast.


Jeff and Miriam are excited.


Dinner!
From left, Jeff from the New England Aquarium, me, and the Southern Fried Science crew: Amy (bluegrass bluecrab), David (Why Sharks Matter) and Andrew (Southern Fried Scientist himself).


Chatting with the inimitable Beth Beck of NASA.
Do they need artists on the ISS?


Me chillin' with Gee.
I won a copy of Henry Gee's book, Jacob's Ladder: score!


Enjoying lunch and company outside. Craig, Kevin, Jason, Beth and Karen. And possibly Miriam's boots.


The elusive Scicurious of Neurotopia caught on film!


A slice of Bora.

- - - - - - - -
Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.


Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

ScienceOnline2010 snaps part 1

While I'm working on the follow-up posts to the tablet workshop and the Art & Science session, here are some pics from ScienceOnline2010 last weekend. This is just part 1, and you can see more on my Flickr.
Attendees sign in.

My session co-leader Felice Frankel with copies of her new book, No Small Matter.

The paleo-blogger contingent. From left, Brian Switek of Laelaps, Andy Farke of The Open Source Paleontologist and a guy with a tragically incorrect trilobite tattoo.

Me, Abel Pharmboy of Terra Sigillata and Arikia Millikan of The Millikan Daily.

Sea Chantey time! Karen James of Data Not Shown and The Beagle Project hits the right note.

Photographic showdown against Jason Robertshaw of Cephalopodcast. He handed out buttons. I like buttons.

Craig McClain and Kevin Zelnio of Deep Sea News.

Jelka Crnobrnja-Isailovic and artist-biologist Tanja Sova.

The kids' table.

Our celebrity hosts, Bora Zivkovic and Anton Zuiker.


I'll get part two up soon!



- - - - - - - -

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

Art Monday: ScienceOnline2010 iPod sketches

Created using the Sketchbook Pro app on my handy iPod Touch.
Pre-Dawn Clouds
Made while on the plane heading to the unconference from Toronto. I haven't captured it well enough. It was a solid, almost melted-blue lavaflow landscape of clouds. The dawn sunlight became visible as I was finishing the piece.


ScienceOnline2010 Participants
Created during one of the sessions while sitting near the back. Which session? Ain't tellin'. The person at the front is no one in particular. Or else they would've been wearing blue.

- - - - - - - -

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

ScienceOnline2010: anthropomorphizing is fun to say

(You can read more for our session Pushing it 'til it breaks: what are the limits of visual metaphors? by clicking here or on the scio10art label below, or by checking the wiki.)

Visual metaphors not only help describe difficult concepts, but they can also allow you to play with them. One of my favourite ways to do that, is by anthropomorphizing them, giving objects personality and purpose, either through their relationship to one another, or by injecting them with human qualities they don't actually possess.

Consider the following images I've made.

Darwin Took Steps

Sowing Seeds & Fossils

Science-Chess Accommodating Religion

Haldane's Precambrian Puzzle (config a: false rabbit)
Haldane's Precambrian Puzzle (config b: true trilobite)

How does each give a personality to inactive objects?

What are the spatial relationships?

Do you feel the metaphor is decisive about an issue, as in a political cartoon? Is it open ended?

What do you see? What do you imagine happens next?

- - - - - - - -

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under
Creative Commons Licence.


Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

ScienceOnline2010: Push it til it breaks

(Today, a guest post by my ScienceOnline2010 session co-leader, Felice Frankel!)The process of coming up with a visual metaphor to explain to someone a particular scientific concept can be quite effective, not only for your readers, but for you –– the process can help to clarify the concept in your own mind. In addition, a discussion about the limitations of that metaphor can be just as clarifying (and fun!). We are incorporating this idea in our NSF-funded Picturing to Learn program.

For years, I have wanted to create an online library of metaphors to communicate complicated science concepts and to engage whoever was interested in why and where those metaphors fall apart. We should do it. Who wants to be part of it?

Here a just a few examples from George Whitesides' and my new book No Small Matter, Science on the Nanoscale.
Quantum Apple

...an attempt to depict the counter intuitiveness of quantum mechanics. Not necessarily a deep portrayal to be sure. I just wanted the reader to get a handle about the idea that QM is NOT like the world as we "see" it.



Writing with Light

How some devices are made using "photolithography".



Graduation Chairs

...so much of what we see is dependent upon where our heads are at, at the time we see it. Coincidentally, while I was working with researchers at MIT imaging samples showing "templated self-assembly" of block co-polymers (another example with which you are more familiar would be DNA replication), the facilities folks were setting up chairs for parents which were meant as "guides" or "templates", where to sit during graduation. Again, nothing that profound but perhaps interesting enough to get some feedback. I decided to post the image and ask people to write to me and suggest what they see in the metaphor. The responses were all over the place:
"... an illustration of orbitals and similar constraints on electrons in an atom."

"The image reminds me of columns (or rows :D) of ICs"

"...circuit on the motherboard of a computer."

"...gravestone markers in a cemetery."

- - - - - - - -
We'll see you at ScienceOnline2010!
- - - - - - - -
Today's images Copyright by Felice Frankel.

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.


Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***