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June 22, 2010 in Uncategorized by Robert Johnson

The sci|art nanolab obviously focuses on the combination of both science and art into a new discipline. While as of now, I don’t believe there are many prominent fields with this in mind, one that I think of is the field of architecture.

Architecture combines civil engineering, arguable based in mathematics and science, with art. The difference is the inclusion of an aesthetic factor. While engineering produces buildings and structures that are purely utilitarian, architecture seeks to elevate these constructs to a higher level. It combines the scientific and computational aspects of engineering and the imagination and freedom of art and melds it together in order to design that which exists in the mind and allows it to be translated to draft and then into an actual structure.

A new branch of architecture, green architecture, further melds science and art. It still contains the traditional forms and goals of architecture, but adds the additional goal of environmental responsibility and sustainability. Green architecture aims to reduce the human toll on the land that the buildings are built on and from. Being that, they combine much more science than traditional architecture. It is necessary that green buildings be the most efficient that they can be, and that means improving the efficiency of all components of the building, above all, insulation and heating, as well as methods of sustainable energy and waste water utilization. Another important aspect is the use of recycled materials instead of new ones, and the use of locally sourced materials in order to cut down on cost and pollution while in transport.

New Building Materials:

Preserving/Remodeling old buildings:

Art vs. Science in Green Architecture:

Green Architecture Forecast:


The Guggenheim in Bilboa: A melding of science and modern art:

Green Building concept:

sustainable apartments in australia:

Monday June 21, Day 1 by Eman D.

June 22, 2010 in Uncategorized by Sci | Art Nanolab

So today was the first lecture I had at this nanolab program, and from the beginning learned that there is a difference between nano-science and nano-tech. The latter is when the nano science is used to solve a problem.

Nanotechnology has to do a lot with finding what building blocks to use for the different categories of nanotech including bottom-up and top-down.

One is able to visualize the bottom-up technique by thinking of constructing a building out of bricks.

To understand the top-down technique, one can refer to carving a statue out of a larger slab of marble.

During the lecture, the idea of creating nano-motors caught my attention after having learned about proton synthase in plants in my biology class. I never thought about using the same method, which organisms use to create energy by creating proton gradients, to harvest energy for other applications. By being able to utilize this technique, we would be able to create probes that could power themselves by creating proton gradients in which we could use to attack cancer cells that metastasized, or something simpler like transporting some proteins to places they need to go.

Additionally, the applications of nanotechnology could have an immense advance in the environment. Water filtration systems could be further advanced to filter out chemicals and toxic waste from medicine that can’t be done with the current technology we have. Although there are hazards which nanotechnology could bring, the benefits outweigh the costs by far in my opinion, and caution should always be used while progressing further in the field.


Water filtration using nano technology:

Bottom up:

Periodical on top down approach:

How to build nanotech motors:

Cancer probes:

Day #1: Science + Art == ?

June 22, 2010 in Uncategorized by Jody Chen

Today was the first day at Sci|Art Nanolab. I really didn’t know what to expect, so most of it came as a surprise to me. I thought it was just going to be a boring program with a ton of lectures and then a final project. It came as a shock to me how absolutely compelling these subjects were and how much opinion I actually had on them. I was pretty afraid at first to hear the word “nanotechnology” and thought that I probably wouldn’t get a word that they were saying, but I am pretty glad that I did understand most of what was being explained to us!

The lecture of nanotechnology left me thinking with many questions… Is it possible to make something a billionth of a meter to great use in the future? Do we really have to be afraid of something terribly wrong happening? How many unknown functions of nanotechnology haven’t we discovered? How will nanotechnology affect our economy? Even if we do find an amazing breakthrough, will it be possible to use it? And many other questions, but the most important question I had was: What does this really have to do with art? I was pretty curious to see what a literal version of  “nanoart” looked like, and thus, I found these:

These are pictures of nano-sized molecules that scientists grew into the shapes of flowers. That really did amaze me to see what they could do, and what I never even bothered to think about before. Yet, this left me with another hanging question: Is any of this really relevant to our lifestyle? Will it manage to affect anything?  I hope in this course my question will be answered, and if not, I suppose it’s just another question of unreal importance.

<– Buckyball! (If that’s how you spell it)

Another topic we addressed today was the “two cultures” and the forming of the “third culture”. When I came into this course, I never gave much thought of the issue of “art” and “science” being totally unrelated topics, until we were introduced to it today. In this world today, it is believed that these two “cultures” do not live in harmony together, yet we have the issue of the “third culture”: the existence of these two cultures as one. Of course, being me, I had questions pop up that I never bother to get answered until I have to think about them again. These questions were… Is it really possible that something like Michelangelo’s  “David” and chemistry to be put together? (on a non literal term ex. “David” is made of this chemical and such) How will we combine these two together so that they exist as one central interest? Is it possible to go past the surface level of the combination (ex. I made art with some robot!) to an even deeper level of understanding? etc. Lastly, going off on another tangent: If we are able to combine the concept of “art” and “science” together, will it be possible to combine so many more other aspects of life? (ex. religion, though that one might have been already combined) Random ramblings.

To be blunt: Today was fun. The end. :)


1st Day-Landen Powell

June 22, 2010 in Uncategorized by Landen Powell

Nanotechnology is a field of infinite possibility. The new technologies, though inconceivably small, have the ability to revolutionize the very way we perceive and interact with our world. We are on the cusp of a nanorevolution, concepts that were only recently theoretical are now on verge of ubiquitous application. It will not be long before nanotechnologies infiltrate every quarter of our lives. Although currently “nano” is a term consistently misused by companies in order to make their  products seem more advanced, in the near future actual nanotechnologies will be used in everything from the production of shoe soles to the treatment of major illnesses (


I think the possibilities of the manipulation of the fundamental building blocks of our universe are rather exciting. Although the picture above may be a somewhat sensationalized depiction of nanobots, it is nonetheless inspiring to realize that such minuscule machines are on the verge of being developed. Scientists at Columbia University have already developed nano-spiders that can be programed to crawl dozens of steps along strands of DNA (


The tiny bots (pictured above), though still in an early stage of development, have an incredible variety of possible applications throughout the medical world. They could be used to clean out clogged arteries, to repair harmful mutations in DNA, or to provide another line of defense against disease.


Nanotechnology is a field that is growing at an incredible rate. Everyday, advancements are made and new applications for nanotechnologies are discovered. I look forward to the day when mankind’s imagination will no longer be imprisoned by a lack of control over the basic construction materials of the universe.

Day #1 6/21/10 Maajid Khan

June 22, 2010 in Uncategorized by Maajid Khan

Today we started out just “getting the ball rolling”, and getting introduced to all the leaders and main focuses of our two-week course. Today was definitely a little bit dull (with all the lectures), but meeting all of the leaders, as they are all really enthusiastic about the course and incredibly well-versed in their respective fields, made me a little more excited about the coming two weeks.

The first topic we were exposed to was the idea of an emerging third culture, which is yet to be defined, and is sort of a common ground between art and science. Some already have their own idea of what this third culture is ( but there are not, as yet, any clear-cut boundaries. I think that this third culture is something that includes a very large part of both science and art, and that there are many things that we are in contact with daily that could fit into either culture. For example, architecture is something that is both an art and a science, because you are trying to create something that is aesthetically pleasing and fully functional, but at the same time also is built so that all areas of the building are supported, and so that the  impossible and exciting new ideas and designs do not exceed what is realistically possible with the math and sciences that we have today.,%20Valencia,%20Spain%20pictures.jpg In some paintings, namely paintings (or portraits) with non-abstract people in them, the artist will make sure that they have done research before-hand on the anatomy of the human body, so that they can create an accurate representation of a person. One rather famous artist/scientist to do this was Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo dissected corpses to more closely examine muscles, tendons, bones, and other visible parts of the body. With his expertise in anatomy, he was able to create accurate drawings of the human skeleton, many internal organs, and one of the first scientific drawings of a fetus. Because of his scientific research, Leonardo da Vinci was able to create two incredibly famous paintings (the Mona Lisa, and The Last Supper), and is revered to be one of the greatest artists of all time.

The other topic that we were introduced to was nanotechnology. This is something that I had previously heard of, but I never really knew much about it. I still don’t know a lot about it, but from what I understood, it is the science of controlling really small particles. Nanotechnology could have a great influence on many fields such as medicine and electronics, but there remains some debate on whether or not it is safe and environmentally friendly, as well as some speculation of an end-of-the-world scenario arising from an experiment gone awry. I am still pretty uneducated on the topic, so I don’t think that I am going to take a side just yet, but I think that the art that is being produced by this area of science is very unique and cool-looking, and I look forward to further exploring this art-science.

Day 1, Group Z – Bucky, Huxley, and Education

June 22, 2010 in Uncategorized by Sarah White

Carbon nanotubes and Buckminster Fuller are definitely main inspirations for me from the nanotechnological aspect of today’s lecture. I think it would be fascinating to see what these tubes, even though they’re really small, could be used for, whether its “elevator to space” cables or used in materials for industrial buildings or interior design. These macro technologies seem far off and perhaps not practical, but I think the inspiration from Fuller’s architecture can definitely be used in the opposite direction to have useful (or not so useful, like the toy here) items based on the structure of these carbon molecules. IBM is using nanotubes for their electrical conductivity and other mechanical uses, linked with the picture at left.

Aldous Huxley and the mention of his essay, Literature and Science caught my eye during the lecture because he is a very well-known author, whose Brave New World I’m really interested in reading, in addition to other science fiction novels. Hopefully I can get my hands on a copy of this essay. In a bit of research, I learned that Huxley intended to be a scientist but suffered from a disease that severely impaired his sight, so he became a writer. This leads me into the debate about the two cultures and the division between art and science in education.

Artists and scientists are expected to have different perspectives for creating ideas and fixing problems, but in my personal opinion, they are taught the same skills. Though there are stereotypes of artists as being free spirits and scientists contrastingly being very nerdy, both need to be able to present themselves and their works in addition to being innovative, whether in ideas for a new exhibition or new experiment. So if the same set of strengths are useful for both fields, it is difficult for students who possess interests in both to choose a track. I see less direct correlation between sciences such as engineering and humanities, which includes artists traditionally, such as political science (ironic name for my example maybe). However, bioethics or environmental policies can be a bridge, uniting the two branches by a global concern. Ultimately, all the potential careers for all college majors are interconnected, so the division of arts and sciences on college campuses seems mainly for ease of administration. More effort could be made for interdepartmental collaboration. I want to have the chance in my education to explore different art forms but also be well prepared for a career researching brain processes; understanding how the brain understands art is a rather basic, direct connection between art and science.

Katherine Jensen June 21, 2010

June 22, 2010 in Uncategorized by Katherine Jensen

When I initially enrolled myself in the Sci/Art Nanolab I was slightly skeptical towards my enjoyment with regard to the artistic portion of the class, seeing as though I generally thrive in sciences such as chemistry and biology.  Although I greatly appreciate artwork of many forms, I would not consider myself an artist by any stretch of the imagination.  However, i find myself obtaining what I view as a paradigm of attributes; creativity.

I am pleased to say that my nervous stomach was set to ease with in minutes of the first lecture, as the professor stated that creativity is the bridge between art and science when describing the third culture that is currently evolving.   Upon self provoked research, I found a clear synopsis of the general idea of an emerging third culture that acts as a bridge between the unfortunate gap between the art and science fields.

I found myself both intrigued and optimistic once I heard the exciting experience I would soon be involved in.  One of the most intuging discussion points was one that essentially stated that the configurations of atoms can completely manipulate both chemical and physical properties of a substance.  An example of this is the many configurations of carbon atoms, resulting in an array of substance.  I researched the different allotropes of carbon.  I was able to recover other insightful information on the topic  to be a helpful site with the overall understanding of the concept.

And although these websites were informational, to fully wrap my mind around the concept, I felt it necessary to refer to a visual.  I found the following to be a clear example of allotropes of carbon:

I found the carbon nanotube to obtain the most amazing characteristics after learning that it is stronger than steal.  The following is an image of its’ configuration:

Another discovery that kept me at the edge of my seat was that of the buckyball, which was briefly mentioned in the lecture. After researching the subject i found a website that gave a deeper description.  The fact that such an intricate image is somehow able to be viewed regardless of its nanosize is mind-boggling.

And although these topics were interesting to say the very least, I found  the works of Johann Wolgang von Goethe to be at the peak of my interest, possibly because i found myself able to relate to him the most out of all of the brilliant minds listed during the lecture.  The poet that based his works on science related topics allowed me to believe it is possible to collaborate two opposing interest, mirroring my own, in order to create a truly beautiful field of work.  I came across an autobiography that gave a good understanding of Goethe’s inspirations and works.

Day 1 | Integrating arts & sciences (EDITED)

June 22, 2010 in Uncategorized by Ashley Trinh

First off, I’d like to say how unbelievably intimidated at the idea of writing a blog like this. I suppose it’s exactly like a regular, written assignment, but still… the word “blog” makes it seem so public and accessible. Is this public and accessible? Remind me to ask that.

Okay, now that I’ve wasted 50 words on that (just kidding)…

The introductory lectures today made me extremely optimistic about this program. I have to admit that I didn’t really have high hopes that this would work at first. My first impression of the program was that it would lean more heavily towards the science side, rather than the art side, but judging from the lectures today, it seems like this program will successfully do both.

Believe it or not, arts and sciences are being mixed, if not in mainstream culture, then in indie and street culture. Many designers are integrating the beauty of human and animal anatomy into their clothing lines, art pieces, and jewelry. This wonderful blog,, showcases various works of art, articles of clothing, and pieces of jewelry that integrate anatomical sciences. One of my favorite pieces is a collaboration between artist Le Gentil Garcon and a paleontologist. Together, they designed a realistically detailed Pac Man skull.

Pac Man skull

Another great blog that integrates physiology, anatomy, and health is In an irresistibly cute and simplified way, they blog fun facts about organs, ways to improve your health, and other related things. I especially love how they use visuals like the one below to explain certain concepts. This visual is about how menstrual cycles can improve concentration levels in women because of increases in estrogen.


They even have extremely adorable organ plushes, like their reproductive gland plushes. Here we have a testis, ovary, mammary, and prostate gland.


Okay, I’m done repping my favorite blogs (sorry for the use of non-academic language).

Oh, a few more things before I start talking about other stuff:

Here is a great science-turned-artist from San Francisco (BAYLIFE! (I apologize, I had to add that)) who creates sterling silver jewelry using the beautiful molecular structures of things from every day life including caffeine, red wine, and psychedelic drugs. EDIT: Not only is it sterling silver, but it’s recycled/reclaimed sterling silver! She’s awesomely eco-friendly (: If someone’s reading this blog and really cares about me, I really want the $640 endorphin choker. Thanks.


Sigh. It’s so gorgeous. You have no idea how badly I want that.


Okay, another great site for artists who love science is the newly updated Association of Medical Illustrators website. It used to be super ghetto and outdated, but now it’s nice and shiny!

Okay, I swear I’m done with all that.

Part of the second lecture spoke about how public education is too rigid, thereby disallowing change, and I find that to be absolutely true at my high school and at many other schools. And not even just public education, but education in general. Ken Robinson addresses this problem in his TED talk in 2006 at Monterey, California. He says that the state of the future is in constant flux. Not even the smartest people can predict what can happen in the next five years, so we cannot expect to prepare students for the next five years unless we prepare them creatively. Math is taught regularly, but why not dance or painting? Why are we taught that scientists and mathematicians are more successful than artists? Anyways, I’m sure Sir Ken Robinson says all of this much better than I can. It’s a great speech, by the way, he’s really funny.

Alright, I’m really tired right now so I’ll end here.

EDIT: Okay, one last thing. Isn’t this resveratrol molecule gorgeous?

Never settle. June 21, 2010.

June 22, 2010 in Uncategorized by Ashley Jeeyun Kim

My first day here at SciArt and already I am showered with a range of endless questions which quite frankly, do not have a definite or immediate answer. How do the two cultures of science and art influence the stereotypes, education, and economics of our modern day society? What is the Third Culture? Where do you see yourself in this soon-to-be manifested worldwide “Third Culture?” And ah, the question we all revel in: technology… the solution or the problem? It is heedless to say that science and art should be segregated from each other. Neither can exist without the other, and that is the truth. With that said, I’ve come to realize that there lies a fundamental interface between the two: a kind of pathway that forms a common boundary, and is characterized by constant change, activity, or progress. This dynamism is important in defining the Third Culture. (Which, according to Victoria, is left for me to answer). Having been rigorously disciplined to accept what must be right and wrong as determined by my teachers and other authoritative figures at school, this posed a bit of a challenge for me. After many hours of lectures and note-taking, I’ve thoughtfully conjectured that understanding the implications of the Third Culture on us and our future generation is much more relevant to our purpose as artists and scientists, rather than trying to put together a set decree or definition. My vision of the future prospects in this emerging intellectual/social awareness is the return of mankind to nature. Allow me to explain. The thought of wild-looking men in animal print huddled around a campfire in some obscure cave is not the vision I am referring to.

For many years the human race has been arduously trying to claim its autonomy from nature’s orbit. But instead, we have been polluting the earth’s atmosphere, destroying precious forests, ultimately disrupting the natural balance of the interdependence between all living things. Rainforests, for example, shelter an expansive number of species of both plants and animals;  these incredibly complex environments have been reduced from 14% to a mere 6% in terms of how much they cover the earth’s surface.

What does this exactly have to do with nanotechnology? Nanoscience and nanotechnology have huge potential in preserving the environment, and saving ourselves. The microscopic size, anti-bacterial characteristics, and properties of quantum confinement of nanomaterials are all effective in providing tools specifically designed to essentially “clean up our mess” precisely by emulating nature’s processes (hence the return of mankind back to nature). Ideas include harnessing solar energy via simulation of photosynthesis, reducing the amount of carbon monoxide and other harmful excess gases, and perhaps even transforming or breaking down our trash into matters of benefit to the environment.

I believe that the very idea of there being no exact definition to this “Third Culture” development is the foundation of scientific discovery through artistic endeavors. It is the fuel to our “organic development”, the juice to our creativity flow. It provides us the justification for us to never settle, to constantly strive for better methods and to imagine far beyond what we have been taught.

Web Links:

Blog#1: The World of NanoMedicine

June 22, 2010 in Uncategorized by Sabrina Wong

In the broad and expanding field of nano-technology, it can be used and applied in various aspects in society today. One of the most common and well-known uses is the advancing studies of nano-medicine, and the benefits as well as the potential detrimental effects. Although it has not yet been proven to be foolproof, nanomedicine is expected as a promising field claiming to find cures for vastly different diseases ranging from cancer to multiple sclerosis and cardiovascular diseases. As a result, many researchers are receiving extensive amounts of money in order to help with further researches in the field.

In the renowned National Institute of Health (NIH) for the United States, there are already eight established development centers focusing on nanomedicine alone with sales reaching nearly $6.5 billion in 2009. Most impressively, nanomedicine features higher accuracy in target drug delivery systems allowing for doctors to directly affect the certain area of the body. In the field of nanomedicine alone, almost 80% of the sales is from target drugs. Similarly, target drugs approximate to 58% of patent fillings around the world. Not only do target drugs accurately identify the area of issue, but can also help solve the problem quickly and efficiently without affecting other parts of the body. Specific target drugs such as ones affecting cancer are among the most popular in the world of medicine today to fight off severe forms of cancer.

Nanomedicine is highly efficient in its ability to pass through selectively permeable membranes such as the blood brain barrier. Using nanomedicine, it allows for brain diseases and tumors to be treated effectively without severe treatments or operations that will create high threats. However, every seemingly perfect medicine also has its flaws.
Despite the vast amounts of financial aid allocated to the research of nanomedicine, much of it is going to ensure the safety of the target drugs being delivered to all patients. Much of the concerns lie within the question of whether the nanoparticles entering a patient’s body will produce the same effect as a larger molecule. Moreover, it is still questionable about how long the nanoparticle resides in the human body along with the residual effect within the systemic circulation through the dermal layer. Insubstantial research for the effects of cellular and tissue functions also produce significant threats to the well-being of the patients, and may create even more adverse effects than the initial disease.  Even if the nanoparticles were able to be successfully tested within the patients to produce satisfactory results, the question still remains on how to dispose of the nanowaste safely and in an environmentally friendly manner as researched by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Researchers from all over the well are still questioning what factors make nanowaste hazardous or not – features such as the shape, size, or other external factors. Until fundamental problems such as the disposal of the nanowaste are able to be fully researched, extensive amounts of lab research on nanoparticles for medicinal purposes will be unable to continue due to the lack of proper disposal.


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