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The art of science

By Michael Banks

Physicists have come out on top in Princeton University’s fourth “art of science” competition.

The annual exhibition features images created during scientific research and this year’s event was held on 7 May with the theme of “energy”.

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Xenon Plasma Accelerator (credit: Princeton University Art of Science Competition )

Jerry Ross, a postdoc at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory won first place for his “xenon plasma accelerator” image. The picture (right) is of a so-called “Hall effect thruster” – a type of ion thruster where electrons, held in a magnetic field, are used to ionize a propellant, which is then used to produce a thrust.

Third place also went to a physicist. Tim Koby, a physics undergraduate at Princeton, produced a picture of the interaction of a neutron star with a black hole in the centre of a galaxy.

Koby was beaten into second place by David Nagib, a chemistry graduate at Princeton who produced an image called “therapeutic illumination”.

Ross bagged $250 for winning best exhibit, with $154.51 awarded to Nagib in second place and $95.49 to Koby in third.

And if you are wondering why those last two figures are not rounded to $150 or $100, it is apparently because they are derived according to the golden ratio – equal to 1.6180339887 – that represents, in this case, the ratio of the higher to the lower number.

You can also watch a video of the exhibits here.

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One comment to The art of science

  1. Tarynn M. Witten

    If you are interested in the interplay between art and science, and you are near the AAAS headquarters in Washington, DC, you might like to visit their gallery exhibition. It is a presentation by a set of artists called ComplexUs, all of whom are both scientists and artists and who are very interesed in pursuing the nexus between art and science.


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