Science art: Lynn Taylor

Lynn Taylor 2015 Trapping Ultra Cold Atoms

Lynn Taylor is a visual artist who works in her Lighthouse Studio on the Otago Peninsula. She recently paired up with her daughter, Petra Fersterer – a particle physicist, to create a visual expression of Petra’s research, which looks at trapping ultra-cold atoms.

“Atoms are constantly moving, which makes them difficult to observe. To even attempt to trap atoms, they must be slowed down by cooling (close to absolute zero). The next hurdle is to pinpoint them. Due to the bizarre workings of quantum mechanics, the act of observing atoms changes their appearance or nature. Fersterer is trying to find ways to overcome this problem by using lasers to manipulate the atoms under observation.”

– Article written by Elsie Percival in SciArt America (Full article here)

Taylor produced prints using solar etching with images and symbols arranged to portray atom and laser structures. In her blog, she writes, “I was particularly fascinated with the notion that atoms change when you observe them and so I started distressing small round mirrors. I had varying degrees of success (i.e. lots of shattered glass) with printing and etching directly onto the glass however I did achieve surfaces that change when you look at them.”

This art was featured at the Otago Museum as part of the UNESCO International Year of Light Art and Light Exhibition in which seventeen artists collaborated with thirteen scientists to create visual responses to scientific research.

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