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Art, Science Merge at UMass Polymer Research Center

Photonics.com
Apr 2003
AMHERST, Mass., April 18 -- Images printed from micrographs -- photographs taken with optical, electron and atomic force microscopes -- have entered the realm of art, thanks to a new program at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst.
   "Ventures in Science Using Art Laboratory" (VISUAL) is a series of artistic prints from images seen through sophisticated microscopes used at the university's Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC), part of the department of polymer science and engineering.

The effort is the brainchild of Linda Strzegowski, assistant to the center's director, Thomas P. Russell.

"In my position with MRSEC, I have had the opportunity to see beautiful images resulting from the research being done," said Strzegowski. In addition to the images' scientific value, she said, it was clear to her that they could also be appreciated as art.

Four images are now on display in the lecture room of the Silvio O. Conte National Center for Polymer Research on the UMass Amherst campus. The project team said they eventually plan to bring the images to art galleries.

Russell calls the effort "an excellent way to reach everyday people in explaining what scientists do, and why research efforts are important. This project enables us to convey scientific concepts to nonscientists in a meaningful way."

For more information, visit: www.polymer.org



GLOSSARY
electron
A charged elementary particle of an atom; the term is most commonly used in reference to the negatively charged particle called a negatron. Its mass at rest is me = 9.109558 x 10-31 kg, its charge is 1.6021917 x 10-19 C, and its spin quantum number is 1/2. Its positive counterpart is called a positron, and possesses the same characteristics, except for the reversal of the charge.
micrograph
A graphic reproduction of an object formed by a microscope or another optical system. Also an instrument used to make tiny writing, etching, or engravings.
microscope
An instrument consisting essentially of a tube 160 mm long, with an objective lens at the distant end and an eyepiece at the near end. The objective forms a real aerial image of the object in the focal plane of the eyepiece where it is observed by the eye. The overall magnifying power is equal to the linear magnification of the objective multiplied by the magnifying power of the eyepiece. The eyepiece can be replaced by a film to photograph the primary image, or a positive or negative relay...
optical
Pertaining to optics and the phenomena of light.
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