When Art Meets Science, You'll Get The Picture | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

When Art Meets Science, You'll Get The Picture

Scientists often struggle to explain their work to us nonscientists. Art to the rescue!

In a new collaboration, artists are taking the inventions of teenage scientists and turning them into posters. Science inspires art. And the art inspires questions.

Why are umbrellas shimmering under the stars?

Because a teenager in Sri Lanka figured out how to use the positions of the starts to accurately predict rainfall.

Why is paint slithering across the canvas in a sinuous brushstroke?

Because a student in Florida invented a rudderlike device that could stop cars from sliding on slippery roads, improving traction and avoiding deadly accidents.

Why is there an ambulance and a hospital inside that injured person?

Because three teens in Costa Rica invented software that makes it quick and easy for ambulance medics to share patient data with the hospital using a mobile phone.

"I wanted to show that when medical systems are better integrated, they allow rescue teams to share a common image of the patient every step of the way," says Thomas Ng. The Brooklyn-born graphic designer was commissioned to illustrate the real-time medical data transfer system by SciArt,an art-meets-science mashup from the folks at Intel, which sponsors the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. He's one of dozens of artists asked to make art based on the science fair participants' innovations.

The seriousness of the students' intent set the tone for his art, Ng told NPR. "There's a lot of weight to this," he told himself. "I shouldn't take it lightly and design it like I would a movie poster."

But he also wanted to make sure that the scientists' goal was clear: "Life or death. You should know immediately what this poster means."

The desire to connect patient, ambulance and hospital inspired a wirelike line. And the line becomes the patient.

In the end, the artist says, helping the scientists communicate their ideas was more important than making something pretty. "These projects genuinely do make the world a better place," he said of the scientists' work.

So does art that gets the word out — and is beautiful, too.

Want to see more big ideas? Check out the trailer for NPR"s "What's Your Big Idea?" video contest, featuring Intel ISEF finalists. Then enter your own big idea. We'll promote your idea, and connect the grand prize winner with an expert for advice on how to make your big idea reality.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Mexican TV Icon Roberto Gómez Bolaños Dies At 85

The actor, writer and director was a staple of Mexican television comedies and children's programs for decades.
NPR

From Humble Salt To Fancy Freezing: How To Up Your Cocktail Game

You don't need to have liquid nitrogen at your next cocktail party — but it's certainly a sure-fire way to impress your guests. Expert mixologist Dave Arnold walks you through it.
NPR

Week In Politics: Hagel's Resignation, Ferguson Grand Jury Decision

NPR's Ari Shapiro speaks with E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution and David Brooks of the New York Times about the grand jury's decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson and the resignation of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
NPR

Millennial Doctors May Be More Tech-Savvy, But Is That Better?

Text messages from your doctor are just the start. Millennials are the next generation of doctors and they're not afraid to say "chillax" in a consultation or check Twitter to find medical research.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.