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The Science of Art: images from Princeton

Posted by Christopher Shea  May 19, 2010 04:53 PM

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"Study the science of art, and the art of science." That quote, from Leonardo da Vinci, serves as inspiration for Princeton University's annual "Art of Science" competition, open to all members of the university's community. The theme in 2010, the fourth year of the contest, was "energy," broadly defined. All of the works captured, or arose from, research in progress.

The winner was Jerry Ross, a researcher at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, for "Xenon Plasma Accelerator," a title that received some explained in a sub-caption: "The Hall thruster is an electric propulsion technology that uses magnetic and electric fields to ionize and accelerate propellant. In this image the plasma accelerator is operating on xenon propellant."


"Xenon Plasma Accelerator"

David Nagib, a graduate student in chemistry, earned second prize with "Therapeutic Illumination," an image of a photosynthesis-mimicking strategy through which his lab tries to achieve certain chemical reactions through the use of an energy-saving compact fluorescent bulb. The third prize went to an undergraduate, Tim Kirby, of the physics department, for "Neutron Star Scattering off a Super Massive Black Hole," which is ... sort of self-explanatory.


"Therapeutic Illumination"


"Neutron Star Scattering ..."

Do check out the montage of winners and other entries the judges deemed noteworthy, for a sense of the aesthetic side of science.
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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
Brainiac blogger Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Columbia, South Carolina. He can be reached here.

Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.

Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.

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Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.


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