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  • Physics Billboard 'Enlightens' Travelers

Photonics.com
Nov 2012
LONDON, Nov. 6, 2012 — A vital but little-known physics equation that has led to much of the technological development of the modern world is piquing the curiosity of travelers as they make their way through West London.

Two large illuminated billboards displaying Austrian theoretical physicist Erwin Schrödinger’s equation offer motorists and pedestrians a little roadside enlightenment. The artwork appears as a troupe of white dancing characters against a backdrop of deep blue.


The Schrödinger equation beams down on Ladbroke Grove, London. Courtesy of Geraldine Cox.

“I wanted to create something that was highly visual and simple, yet at the same time said something deeper about the world in which we live – something that would make people curious enough to investigate further,” said Imperial College London artist-in-residence Geraldine Cox, who created the signs with Imperial College quantum physicist professor Terry Rudolph. The two hope to communicate a little flavor of the excitement and beauty that scientists see in equations that describe the world around us.

Many technological developments — including solar panels, GPS, electron microscopes, and fiber optics that create the Internet’s backbone — have derived from the Schrödinger equation. It was devised in 1926 following a huge international effort by many scientists, and describes the surprising ways that light and matter behave when they interact at the smallest scale.

“Our hope is to open a window to share one of our greatest and most iconic equations, one that has enabled much of the modern world,” Rudolph said. “We warmly encourage you to get in touch and ask us questions about physics or the scientific life, and we will do our best to answer.”

The billboards are managed by Kinetic Worldwide print and project management company Hi Rezz.

“Outdoor advertising is great at enhancing changing landscapes such as these along the roadsides in West London, and the addition of this poster should hopefully make for some very thought-provoking moments for those passing by,” said Paul Shields, Hi Rezz managing director. The billboards will remain on Fulham Palace Road and Ladbroke Grove until Nov. 11.

For more information, visit: www3.imperial.ac.uk


GLOSSARY
light
Electromagnetic radiation detectable by the eye, ranging in wavelength from about 400 to 750 nm. In photonic applications light can be considered to cover the nonvisible portion of the spectrum which includes the ultraviolet and the infrared.
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