In this issue of Sneak Preview — Photonics West Edition #2 — Photonics Media Senior Editor Justine Murphy looks at some other unique things happening around San Francisco, namely in the arts community. The Moscone Center in San Francisco will be filled to the brim with industry experts, scientists and companies when Photonics West comes to town this month. But this renowned venue isn’t the only exciting place in the city by the bay. There are a lot of things happening right now, including in the arts community. Take a walk down to Pier 14 in the Embarcadero district, where you’ll experience the Soma art installation. This is a project by Flaming Lotus Girls, a volunteer-based group of artists who make large-scale kinetic fire art. The Soma installation occupies about 5,000 square feet and brings together art and science with a display that mimics the microscopic world of two neurons in the brain. LED light flows as electrochemical signals between the two neurons, while spinning balls of fire form the nuclei. LEDs are also at the tips of rippling dendrites that extend more than 30 feet. Soma is interactive, too, as visitors can control neurotransmissions with buttons nearby. Another unique display supported by Illuminate — a group that helps produce contemporary art with civic impact and social activation — sits on the Bay Bridge. Called The Bay Lights, and it extends 1.8 miles along the bridge. 25,000 LED lights comprise the display, which at its highest point is 500 feet tall. There is also the Exploratorium museum on Pier 15 in Embarcadero near the waterfront. This is described as a home-grown, hands-on science museum meant to ignite curiosity and inspire creativity. It features hundreds of hands-on exhibits in areas such as light, astronomy, and life sciences. As you can see, San Francisco is bustling with unique light-based art that brings science to visitors from around the world. Join Justine again next week, when she’ll dive into the details of Photonics West.