Particle physics and illustration collided in the culmination of the Jiggling Atoms project; the brainchild of artist Natalie Kay-Thatcher. Over six months 25 dedicated artists attended lectures and seminars about physics! They were set the task of visually interpreting aspects of the often-viewed incomprehensible world of particle physics.
A series of four lectures from co-organisers Malte Oppermann and Jennifer Crouch transported the artists from everyday experience and thinking into the strange realm of the atom and scientific methodology. They learned of the guiding forces and lumpy discrete nature of Nature. Then in a final lecture from myself we went deeper down the rabbit hole, smaller than the atom to explore particles.
Once enthused and educated about all things science; the artists were given five short briefs. Each brief explored different aspects of particle physics; quantum weirdness, the space between particles, ‘seeing’ particles with machines, symmetries and the rules of Nature, and the very early history of the Universe. Various methods of interpretation were also suggested; a toy or game, image or series of images, object, comic strip, or info-graphic. While ideas were taking seed a number of seminars and e-mail conversations followed. From these discussions the briefs took on new and exciting dimensions as artists and scientists’ explored ideas of representing the subject matter off brief.
Alongside an exhibition of the work produced there were an array of workshops and talks between 1st-7th October 2012. But the project does not stop there! Jiggling Atoms is an idea more than a one off project and it continues today through the brilliant www.jigglingatoms.org website designed by artistic director Rosie Eveleigh. We hope to expand the activities of Jiggling Atoms in the near future – watch this space!
QM Press release: October 2012