Monday, June 11, 2007

Week 10 Section 3 - Geckelman!

Coming from a South Campus major with a somewhat rudimentary background in physics, but a greater interest in plasma and plasma technology I can safely say the Dr. Geckelman’s lecture was a bit over the top for the nature of this class. What he is doing is absolutely amazing and is mind blowing, but unlike Gimzewski from last week’s lectures, he failed to condense the information and make it a bit prettier for presentation purposes. Electromagnetism is confusing, yet he threw around terms and properties as if we got it, I honestly could only understand the very basics of the magnetic spins he spoke of measuring and manipulating. He touched on the amazing properties of plasma in this scientifically esoteric manner, showing graphs and diagrams of which I only recall the “birth of an octopus” and what is more, I do not remember what it referred to. I also felt it a bit off-color in light of our noble endeavors of bridging science and art for him to mention the only art in his presentation as being “pretty pictures.” Geckelman is most preoccupied, and rightly so, with his own research in plasma physics and I can only imagine how much he would want to expose us to the field without losing any of the complexity inherent in it.

I brought up Gimzewski, although I disliked his cavalier attitude in regards to research, because he represents exactly what I would imagine a scientist influenced by art should be like. Geckelman, Scerri, and even Taylor represent science in pure form and in all reality act as counterpoints to the artists mentioned in class, however their bridging of art and science left little impression on me. Science does not need to be so complicated; explaining it in a verbal fashion is easy really. Look at the news paper, world politics and international relations are far more complex than C++ code, but we as consumers of the media and newspapers demand it to be simplified without losing too much meaning. We do not buy journals on medicine, which are incredibly hard to read for any length of time, to hear about the latest advances and make decisions in politics. Why then should scientific presentation raise the left eyebrow of anyone not involved in that specific field? Geckelman’s work is fascinating, but I could not blame the people leaving in the middle of his lecture- I am a science major and I can safely say that my basic physics professors can make a ball rolling down a hill seem pretty cool; Geckelman’s physics lecture on Wednesday made me want to stab myself to keep awake.

While society and current thought has told us to dismiss this as just him being a boring scientist, I argue that his type of lecturing is more detrimental than it may have appeared. I brought Richard Dawkins up in a previous blog, but I feel I must bring him up again now. He represents lucidity in scientific thought. He is a Professor for the Public Understanding of Science. I mean how much do scientists suck at explaining if Oxford had to give this man a position specifically to present science in a clear and understandable way to the public. Tongue in cheekiness aside, I have to say that Dawkins is truly what the world needs to understand science. He is almost like an interpreter, taking the masses of scientific thought and condensing it into the written word; it is important to note that scientists like to do this as well, however as someone who is studying English as well as science I am moved to tears, not of happiness, every time I read a scientific journal. It’s horrible.

It is fine to speak as a scientist among scientists, but please have the decency to learn a little French if you’re in France.

(This has little to do with what I just said, but it's funny and New Scientist is a great Science journal that represents lucidity in thought without losing too much meaning.)

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--- Week 10 --- Section 2 --- John "Matt" Ko ---

This week we talked about space and space exploration. The next frontier. A lot has happened in space in the last 50 years. We've orbited the earth, landed on the moon, sent satellites to the outer reaches of our solar system. Because of the all of the advances in technology, so many things that seemed impossible are now very possible. Though there are still many things scientists hope to accomplish, they have already accomplished many things already.

Even before venturing into space, people have been fascinated by the cosmos. Astrology played a huge role in prehistoric and early historical times. People based their lives on what Astrologers could read from the stars. While astrology is now widely accepted as unscientific and often totally fabricated, people in those days took it extremely so seriously that kings sought the advice of the stars before taking any action. And today, though few believe that the stars will guide your life, just about everyone is still fascinated by space.

So much of today's pop culture has been influenced by space. Star Wars, Star Trek, Apollo 13, E.T., The X-Files, and many other movies and TV shows have all been influenced and inspired by space exploration. Many venture to the northern regions of the world, just to see the Aurora Borealis. It is not uncommon for people buy telescopes and go to observatories just to see Venus as large as a quarter. Thats not even that great and people go see it. They buy art and photographs of various planets and galaxies. Just recently, many people have joked about the now-no-longer-a-planet Pluto. People are obsessed with the concept of extraterrestrial life and UFOs. Websites about aliens are widespread throughout the Internet. Anywhere you go today, its very hard to go too long before running into the idea of space.

Just the vastness of space is incredible. Not only that, the universe is so complex that its hard to even pretend to comprehend it all. What Professor Geckelman shared with us about plasma just complicates the universe more! And yet we love it! The idea of plasma creating a network throughout the universe baffled me. I never knew that the universe was so organized, what with so many different galaxies floating and spinning around in what seems to be random patterns. I just assumed things drifted around aimlessly in space. But in reality, plasma and all of the magnetic forces created by it moves the universe. Its amazing!

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Week 10 - Christopher Flannery - Space

Though I was interested in a lot of what the guest lecturer Geckelman had to say, I found it very hard to follow his points. I am a music major and a lot of the terminology and comparisons he made went over my head. However when I did understand something, it was extremely interesting; such as using plasma lasers to break down waste to an atomic level, mixing plasma, and plasma’s effect on different material. I remember at one point he described “plasma” as having memory because when they sent a charge through it, it would react in one way for the first time, and then in a completely different manner when they executed the same exact charge. I found it hard to characterize a material as being conscious and thought that there must be a difference that they are unable to detect. It seems like there are many examples of unknowns and inconsistencies in scientific knowledge and particularly space, that there is mostly likely a mistake in a basic concept, such as gravity. Even when something is “proved” it is likely that it will later be expanded on with exceptions or disproved completely in the relatively near future. I think that an art piece could play on the fact that people are willing to trust science wholeheartedly and quickly despite the fact that it is mostly likely flawed.
I enjoyed when the guest lecturers made a direct connection to art and Geckelman did not do this at all. During other weeks, the connection and interplay was more obvious because the guest lecturer or Professor Vesna provided a lot of names and examples of collaborations between science and art. We discussed the effect that space exploration had on popular culture and world politics, however I didn’t form a strong reference to and effect on art during the lectures.
My favorite part of the week was The Powers of Ten video. I had seen this as a young child, but I don’t think that I grasped the concept firmly then. This video, which should be considered a work of art in itself, conveys one of the most important messages the study of space has to offer; our insignificance in relation to the rest of the universe.
Earlier this quarter we discussed using models of biological systems, such as a sunflower, to create a new system. From my knowledge of space, I know that there are complicated structures that we could also learn from. The visuals are absolutely breathtaking. I would not be surprised there were many examples of the buckyball structure in outer space, or if there are disturbing similarities between atomic and galaxy structure. There is a universal synergy on all scales. Beyond the design of the structures, the satellite images we have are works of art on their own. I found an amazing collection here:

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Daniel Baker - Week 10 - The Sublime in Space, Plasma, and Art

Of the many facts that Walter Gekelman discussed in this week’s lecture, one seemed to stand out as a symbol for the weekly subject: the idea that their our 100 billion galaxies in our universe, each with 100 billion stars each, meaning there are 100 billion x 100 billion stars in the universe. That’s a lot of stars. This statement, seemingly hidden amongst the various facts and comments about plasma, left a strong impact in the middle of the lecture. It was one of those moments where you realize just how unfathomably large our universe, and how tiny and relatively unimportant we are. Even if one’s actions significantly change the whole globe, our planet is just a microscopic fraction of the entire universe, so do our actions really count for anything? But it is also a positive realization as well, immensely freeing for our lives are so short, and we are so small, that every little moment counts and it seems ridiculous to waste any part of our lives, years, or even day. With so little to change, how can we sit around idly without even being responsible for our fraction of the universe that we actually can make a difference upon? It is an important job being tiny and relatively meaningless.

This is the art in space. Yes, there is the art that takes advantage of the physical characteristics of a dark vacuum or weightlessness, but what is really the art that is beautiful is that which utilizes the philosophical implications of space. The idea of space is both incredibly frightening and intensely intriguing, and therefore becomes a sublime subject in the realm of art. The sublime feeling of terror (but unreal terror) and pleasure that kicks in when confronted with something incomprehensible has been a popular subject of art for centuries. Caspar David Friedrich, one of the most well known painters of the sublime around 1840 is one such example.

His works deal with the sublime qualities found in nature, in the vast landscapes that both overwhelm and stimulate. These same feelings can be found in space, in its philosophical implications and its artistic representations.

The symposium on Tesla seemed to bring up some similar issues of the sublime in the inventor’s work. In the last speaker’s presentation on the Nevada Lightning Lab, there were descriptions on the new research center for the lab, featuring the largest Tesla Coils ever conceived. The size and power of the proposed coils are powerful enough to create actual bursts of lightning that split through atoms, a phenomenon called Relativistic Runway Breakdown that as of now, only occurs in real lightning bolts. These massive structures that have the power to mimic nature clearly conjure up feelings of the sublime, bringing forth ideas of both terror and a desire for more. Both Tesla’s works as well as the Nevada Lightning Lab’s deal with huge and almost magical concepts, creating an intimidating and fearful buzz surrounding their ideas, yet the scientists continuously yearn to delve deeper.

What seemed interesting in Gekelman’s conversation on plasma is that in order to understand the nature of the universe, one must look at an extremely small scale. All of Gekelman’s research is driven by the release of tinier and tinier sensors measuring the smallest characteristics of the subject. The item under inquiry is so small that special visualization techniques must be employed in order to understand what is going on at such a microscopic level. Similarly, art that deals with space must use some sort of method to display the hugeness of space in way that we can comprehend. Both areas rely on art to be able to comprehend ideas that are out of our normal range of cognition. Both the incredibly huge quality of space and the incredibly small quality of plasma provoke the same feelings of the sublime. Each is powerful and yet intriguing, and interestingly both deal with getting closer to understanding the fundamentals of the universe, but from completely opposite directions.


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Last Week, Andrew Modlin, Section 2 Chris

Now that the quarter is over, I can safely say that I really enjoyed this class. Every week had new and exciting information. I have especially enjoyed these last few weeks. Biotechnology, nano-technology, and space are really interesting and I am glad that I got to learn about these areas during my time at UCLA. This is why I thought this class was so different and something new. Every week we learned about different topics that many people would never cover during their regular schedule at UCLA. While I might be a little bias coming from an art background, but I really found all the science to be fascinating.

I think the nano technology week was especially interesting because of Professor Vesna's experience within the field. Since she has done some projects with Dr. Gimzewwski I felt that they had a bond of knowledge that would only be unveiled within this class. It was really interesting to see how art can be connected to these really complex scientific fields. Nano technology especially seeing as how there seem to be a lot of endless possibilities to what can be accomplished with this technology.

Now I do not totally understand the connections to space though. I found the lecture on plasma physics extremely interesting and weird but there was not really a connection to art. My only real suggestion would be to maybe make the class more focused on strong connection using the materials that are being talked about. More so then discussing the apparent problems that artists have with scientists.

While coming into the class I was very convinced that there was a really strong divide between the two cultures. The way everyone talks at UCLA about North and South campus makes it seem like no one gets along but this isn’t really true. There seems to be a lot of connections that can be made with science and many other fields. I was extremely surprised to see a giant buckminsterfullerene as an art piece.

It would be extremely interesting if the class took this knowledge a step further and has us make a projected that combined these aspects of art and science. I think that that would be really unique and would force people to think in ways they have not before. Maybe there could be groups that would come up with projects and then would have to go around campus and find the field for help. I think that would work really well since professor Vesna seems really well connect around campus.

I have especially found myself interested in the last two weeks and I keep finding amazing examples of projects that can be made with these types of sciences. One that I have found to be most impressive is the giant Tesla coils that were presented at Coachella Valley Music Festival. The cactus twins are some of the largest Tesla coils ever built. I saw them for the first time at Coachella and they were extremely beautiful. They were giant towers projecting huge beams of crackling purple light, which both interacted with each other. Not only did I find the light beautiful and amazing but also the sound they gave off was so different that it was also amazing. It was like they were performing electronic music with the interaction of a light show.

On a last side note I really just want to share this art piece with everyone. This artist Damien Hurst has made a carrier out of cutting cows in half and putting them in huge tanks of formaldehyde, basically. But this is from his newest show, showing that some artist can be extremely successfull.

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Dr. Gekelman's art

I thought that Dr. Gekelman's lecture this week was really interesting, but also extremely intense. It was pretty difficult to follow the whole lecture with only a basic physics background, but non-the-less there were very fascinating points made. I thought that his description and explanations of what plasma is were very informative. Furthermore, I really enjoyed how he portrayed his research not only as interesting science, but then expanded it the broad scale of the sun, and how those same basic properties they were observing in the lab were present in nature itself.

I think my favorite part of his lecture was he art that he showed from his lab. All of his data was very colorful and fascinating, but I really like the images that they rendered to be unique. I remember the electric currents with lightbulbs on them, reflected in a mirror and also the all the currents that were changed into snakes. I really liked these images and I thought that this was a really interesting idea that we never really covered in the class.

In this class we discussed a lot about artists and how they were trying to portray science, and we discussed a lot of scientists and their research, but we never really covered any scientists that were doing art. I guess we did cover Dr. Gimzewski, but he is collaborating with an artist, so that is why I do not include him. Dr. Gekelman's art was really interesting because it not only portrayed real plasma physics data, I felt like the images were truly unique because they came from a different perspective. The physicists seemed to be using their art to make their data seem even more unique and try to make their science gain even greater importance. I felt that this contrasted with the objective of many of the artists discussed this quarter. Many of the artists seemed to be skeptical of the nature of science, and there art was often commenting on the abuse of science and how it can lead to destruction. While this is definitely a generalization, I enjoyed the work from Dr. Gekelman's lab because I really felt like his art was just because they were truly stimulated by their scientific data. It seems that some unprovoked stimulation like this could really make some of the best art.

I was searching online and I found some more images of some scientists who transformed their science into art. The example here is from a contest. The artwork is of silicon dust pellets suspended in a plasma and then illuminated by a laser. I think that this artwork is really fun to observe and interesting. I also like to see that in the art there arises scientific principles. For example, if you look at the way the dust is illuminated by the laser and aligned in the plasma it is a very regular and repeated fashion.

I think that I am saying all this because I really like art to be about nature because of all, isn't nature the most amazing thing. I really enjoy photography and I think that I really enjoyed the scientists data and experiments which are turned into art because they are creating unique, novel perspectives of viewing nature. In doing so, they are using art to portray nature's beauty.


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A Year in Review

I have really enjoyed my time in this course. DESMA 9: Art Science and Technology is the only design class that I have taken during my three years at UCLA and I was truthfully pleased. Being a neighboring student in the Theater Film and Television program, it was very interesting to gather with fellow students 3 times a week and hear everyones reactions to various art installations. I did learn that no matter how many tired and cranky kids gather into one room at nine o clock in the morning, it is IMPOSSIBLE to come to an agreement about the definition of "art." Which is actually the beauty about the subject.

It is the only subject one can study at this school that is going to be constantly changing and morphing into something new. I feel that everything else is so restrained compared to DESMA in the fact that"art" cannot be defined. Students in design are constantly developing new and original ideas that are going to be constantly changing the ways we perceive art and life. I think that is what makes classes like this so special. I was introduced to so many bizarre ideas that totally have influenced the ways I look at the world. The ideas of Stelarc, Steve Kurtz, Orlan, Tesla, Escher, Mandelbrot and Buckminster Fuller are something that I have never given thought to before this quarter and it excites me to learn about such creative people.

"Every great work of art has two faces, one toward its own time and one toward the future, toward eternity." - Daniel Barenboim

The work of these amazing artists is pushing the boundaries of art day by day. It gives me inspiration to take new leaps in theater film and television, to produce something new that has never been done before, to look at something from a different perspective and capture creative essence in a way in which other will be inspired to do the same. I think that everyone should be required to take art classes (esp the science majors.) I think it would put a spin on the lab work they are required to do and even evolve into amazing collaborations that could end up developing ideas like the ones i have studied for the past quarter.

I am ending this quarter fully satisfied with the knowledge i have retained. It has been amazing to have the opportunity to take such a interesting course, one in which will affect the way I critique art for the rest of my life.

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder, and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: His eyes are closed." - Albert Einstein

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Alexander Yeh, week 10, Plasma Research Art

This week’s lecture on plasma physics by Walter Gekelman was by far the most interesting lecture so far. While I admit that it involved little art and much more electrodynamics, the artistic portions seemed to be very similar to Professor Charles Taylor’s lecture in using graphical forms of data as art. However, Dr. Gekelman renderings seemed to emphasize art a bit more in that in some of his works, they were purposefully rendered in a certain way in order to be called art. For example, his electric field streamline graph of the currents through the plasma with the added snakeskin effect really showed the complexity of the electric fields through the plasma.

My interest in the lecture did not stem from by artistic side by stemmed from by scientific side. It is fascinating to me how while almost all the universe consists of the state of matter of plasma, it takes very sophisticated equipment to be able to study it. All of the common knowledge of science consists of the tiny portion of the universe that isn’t made of plasma. Most fascinating however was how be described the characteristics of the behavior of two merging fields of plasma. Furthermore, it was interesting to me how plasma is studies through measuring the magnetic field intensities at certain locations and after using numerical analysis with Maxwell’s equations, all of the electromagnetic characteristic of the plasma can be deduced.

However, because of the complexity of the system, the data itself is hard to understand but when the data is represented as images using streamlines, vector fields and equipotential surfaces, the data is much more easily interpreted by humans. Now the question is if this can be interpreted as art.

The graphical displays of data used in Charles Taylor’s works seem to be more just charts that you would find in a statistics class or a history class that is used to display trends in a form more easily understood than raw data. The displays that Dr. Gekelman showed however involved far more numerical processing and the use of streamlines was essential in its understanding. It is not a question of whether plasma can be used as art. Plasma as art is everywhere. Just look at all the neon displays all along shopping districts or at the site . However, the graphical data of streamlines used to study data in plasma physics is the same used in the disciplines of fluid dynamics and electromagnetism just to name a few. So every time a streamline plot is made, is an art piece is made simultaneously?

It seems as though the graphical display of data used in plasma physics research strongly resembles the complexity in the graphical displays of the Mandelbrot fractals. Both involve sets of data that with trends that can be only understood through large amount of processing and rendering. The beauty rooted in these two fields is evident in the complexity found in the very simple systems, in the very nature of our universe and mathematical systems.


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Tygue Luecke-Week 10-Plasma is Boring

Assuming that honesty is invited in these blogs (and I hope it is, considering some of the personal opinions I have expressed through them over the course of the quarter), I just have to admit that Wednesday’s guest lecture nearly killed me. The speaker was clearly a very knowledgeable man who does very important work, but I can honestly say that I would have preferred his work to remain behind-the-scenes, or at least to be shared only with other scientists. He didn’t start off too bad, but by about 11:15, I swear I felt my soul trying to make its great escape from my body. Yeah, it was pretty bad. However, I was able to pull out a few tidbits of semi-useful knowledge of which I would like to speak… now.

I was glad to hear that our lecturer made at least one reference to art and science- that being the fact that artistic renderings of data sets are much easier to view and evaluate than is an incomprehensibly large set of numbers. On the other had, after saying that, he dropped into that endless explanation of plasma using measurements which were just as incomprehensible as the number sets he had discredited earlier. Needless to say, I was very pleased when Professor Vesna finally began a discussion about the supposed/attempted comprehension of such insanely small measurements, but became confused again when her questions were met by an answer that seemed to support the comprehension of such outlandish things as a hundred billionth of a second. I’m sorry, but no one is able to comprehend such nonsense. And what would be the point in being able to, anyway? I surely can’t find a reason for it. Unless I intend to study plasma, I suppose… but I’m not seeing that as a likely situation at the moment. Not very likely at all. Excuse me, I have become sidetracked. Now, where I was intending on leading this was toward the discussions of a changed perspective of people who are constantly forced to think in unfathomable scales. Unfortunately, my research of this topic has led to naught, but it is my personal belief that such people would cease to be shocked by any statistic thrown at them. I am no plasma physicist myself, and even I find it hard to be shocked sometimes when I hear that ten people died in some kind of an accident, when I have heard so many times of the thousands upon thousands of deaths that occurred during the Holocaust. And to hear that the earth houses a mere six billion people just seems ridiculous. Even after Wednesday’s lecture, I was thinking about how barely anything could shock me after hearing about billionths of seconds and millions of degrees. Seriously, Death Valley will ever seem impressive again. I cannot even imagine if I worked with such numbers on a routine basis. Life would never be the same.

Okay, so plasma may just be the most boring thing on the planet, but it sure does make some pretty pictures! Check this out:

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Week 10, section 4

Even though it's the most overused quote, I think I like it a lot: "Space, the final frontier." There are SO many visions that are conjured up when we think of space and many of them are futuristic. UFOs are always considered beings with far advanced technology when compared to our own; as mentioned in lecture, earlier views of space were the ability to do more with technology than what we have. After all, we use the words "space-age technology" to define things that are way past our abilities to create. Now that I have drawn this connection, I'm going to quickly talk about future technology and art just because it's on my mind. The future and art have a very interesting connection in that, to a large degree, artists create what people perceive to be the future of technology. Concept technologies like concept cars represent awesome future technologies and now there is such thing as a "futurist" who visualizes and estimates what the future is going to be. In the end, it takes a dreamer, an artist, to make these things while scientists are caught up doing what's already been done a little bit differently. (END TANGENT)
In the 1950's, during the atomic age, people were very interested in going to space, colonizing planets and even the moon. In the children's book at right, you can see an artist's interpretation of going to the moon. I remember, in fact, as a child, how much Star Wars' futuristic spaceships that were shaped like jets influenced my playing. I used to make Lego versions of the cruisers and fight with others but the point is that it was the media version of the future that I took to be the actual future.
Unfortunately, I didn't get to see the speaker for this week, but I did have the pleasure and disappointment of going to the Tesla event. I felt that there was a very well defined artistic side of the event but barely any science side. Still, I enjoyed understanding how much Tesla influenced and was influenced by art. I feel like Tesla was not really linked at all to the lady who showed her work with the electromagnet but simply used the idea of Tesla's invention in her work which I don't feel is truly relevant; there was an undercurrent of her simply trying to promote her art rather than appreciate the means to her art. However, the woman who spoke of "Resonance" seemed to have a much closer relation to him and seemed much more in touch, even though she remarked at the beginning that there was more than just Tesla in her art show. Finally, best of all, I liked the man who created Tesla coils as his work seemed closest to Tesla's, not only by the mere fact that he made Tesla coils, but by the fact that he had a purpose to help people. In other words, in making his giant Tesla coils, his goal was to ultimately simulate lightning as found in nature so as to improve the safety of vehicles. He mentioned other entertainment based applications, but this was just for the sake of funding which ultimately is another important aspect of his work. It is very likely that one will find a person who makes Tesla coils but if you ask what their reason for it is, they will tell you it is for fun or to experiment around with. None of these things are really useful to humanity and so you wonder what possible use a Tesla coil could have. It is only until you meet someone like this speaker that you actually feel how important work in the development of high voltage electronics is.
Now I'd like to speak to the affect this class has had on me, because I'm sure it is valuable knowledge to whatever TA or professor reads this. Before, I had the understanding that science and art were completely separate realms. I would get very defensive when my "artsy" friend worked on engineering based projects because I felt that an artist could not possibly know science better than I. However, as this class progressed, I started understanding that it is the artists that create dreams and the scientists that can make them happen. This doesn't mean that scientists can't dream and that artists can't advance science, but it means that everyone has a little scientist and a little artist in them, causing a varying amount of creativity and productivity. I learned from this class that these things are mixed in all areas and should be delighted in rather than feared.

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John Milinovich - Week 10 - We Are Not Alone...

Ever since the prospect of space travel has graced the pages of science fiction novels and comic books, people have tried to put a face to the mystery that they associate with the unknown universe. This is where the idea of extra-terrestrials, or life forms from another planet, enter the picture.

The idea of the alien, or extra-terrestrial, has been associated with the mystery and horror that exists in that which we do not fully understand. While the frontiers of space are more accessible than ever before, space exploration has a sort of chain reaction effect: the more we know, the more we realize that we do not and potentially cannot know. This idea is not acceptable in our culture, so people try to put images to the disembodied ideas that we have conceived.

Popular culture is inundated with references to aliens, whether they be evil or peaceful and has been as such since the early fifties, when the idea of space travel was first conceived as possible. Mankind is not fundamentally wired to accept that there may in fact be some other life form that exists independently from us, whether it be "in a galaxy far, far away" or even within our own solar system. The simple fact is, people fear that which they cannot control, and the belief that other-worldy bodies not only exist but are ready to attack us at any moment is threatening to the basic foundation and principles by which our culture functions.

The modern image of the alien is amusing and egotistic and describes a whole mess of how humans view the world around them. The traditional image of the alien (as seen above) portrays a short-statured creature with green skin, no hair, long arms, large, black eyes, no nose and a small mouth. These lifeforms share a great deal of characteristics with humans but they generally have some sort of powers - whether it be the healing finger of E.T. or the over-exaggerated brain power of those which appear in The Simpsons and other movies or TV Shows. All of the aliens also seem to have some sort of infatuation with the human anatomy and they often engage in activities such as anal probing and dissection.

At this point in our scientific knowledge and discovery, there really is no way to know whether there are actually other life forms in the universe. It would be arrogant to think that the (non-religious) idea that the way the earth and its inhabitants were conceived was a miracle only possible and that only occurred in one place in the infinite regions that make up the infinite abyss. Regardless of what science may prove, however, the idea of the other-worldy lifeform will continue to be a major focal point of our culture.

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Juliet Lee - week 10 - space & the final frontier

When we started on Monday and the heading of this weeks theme was space exploration the first thing I thought of was those art pieces that are like tigers or under water creatures out in space. And in a way the information we know about the universe is through how artists can conceptualize the ideas of scientists. As evidenced through the entire class, art is there to teach us when the technology hasn't caught up to our research and imagination. An example could be the Power of Ten video we watched, most of what they show us cannot be photographed by anything that we know, on the galaxy or atomic scale. It's pretty amazing how much we can learn through the visualization of concepts. That is one of the features that make us human too, our strong dependence on sight. This class has done a good job of integrating art and science even if it was quite overwhelming at times. There was a lot of information given to us in a small amount of time, and though I suppose it was nice to be given a choice as to which artist we wanted to look into further, but I felt like I lacked the sense to know how to look at their work and understand it without someone else explaining it to me. Artists have a way of explaining their art that makes me think that they are making everything up. That they really just felt like making something and worked backward to give their piece meaning. Therefore it was still the scientist who in giving their perspectives in art and science that I better understood the connection, at least as a legitimate collaboration and not as a purpose to solely create new/different art work. Although Wednesday's lecturer was a bit too heavy on the science and I found a lot of what he said to be going over my head Gekelman’s talk on plasma was really interesting. I was able to attend the symposium for Nikola Tesla and found it to be another interesting dichotomy between art and science and even to how they give presentations in front of a crowd of varied backgrounds. The first and last lecturers Milos Ercegovac and Greg Leyh, I understood what it was that they were talking about, and also their relation to Tesla. Of course when Ercegovac spoke he was very easy to understand because he just gave an overview of Tesla's varied and impressive life and he presented it in a funny presentation. The other scientist was from the Nevada Lightening Lab, and his presentation was also in order and made a direct connection to Tesla through his research on lightning and the Tesla coils. On the other hand, the artists who spoke I felt nearly put me backwards in my thinking that art should be given the respect that the sciences are given. It was sad to hear people leaving throughout the film "Monster Tree" by Paulette Phillips even though the breathing was really annoying and I also wanted to leave. Phillips related her art to Tesla because she used a magnet to hold up a tissue and filmed a girl with her hair blowing straight up into the air and never blinking giving us a magnetic look. That's what I was talking about how to me it sounds like artists just want to talk about themselves and what they created so they make a story that can let them talk longer. In this class I haven't heard a one of our artists say just enough to explain their art and their actions in a convincing manner.


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Friday, June 8, 2007

Annie Wu- Week 10

When I first learned that this week’s topic was going to be about space exploration, gravity, and macro & micro cosmos, I could not really understand how these things related to art and design. Of course, there is some kind of artistic quality, or aspect, about the innovations that are constantly being created to send into space, but the definite connection between art and space just did not really stand out to me right away.

After learning about it more, I realized that art and design really seem to affect all different aspects of life, even space exploration; it is going as far to even contribute new ideas to space exploration and the future possibilities regarding space habitats. Space artist Pierre Comte’s project “Biospace 1, 1991” deals with the idea of having inflatable space structures, developed for the prospects of human habitation in outer space. There would be a total of two launches into space. The first launch would send a cylindrical module into space, containing essential equipment such as the power supply, remote control, and more. The second launch would send another module into space, except this one would contain the inflatable structures. The two modules would meet in space and after connecting, they would move farther apart as the structures would begin to inflate. After everything is done inflating and automatically “setting up,” the entire structure would become operational and functional. Astronauts would then be able to deal with the insides of the structure however they wanted—they would be decorating the interior like as if it were a house on Earth. It is so interesting to see how art can inspire people to create structures like this, to motivate them to invent new ways of living.

Another thing I realized about space art is that it has the capability to really force people to experience and perceive space in completely new senses. In Louise K. Wilson’s installation, “Terra Firma, 1996,” she stages the setting of a laboratory. She used documentation from an experiment concerning motion sickness, which she had observed how the human body reacted with the space around it while being moved around (for example, spinning around in a chair). Wilson’s installation is meant to involve the viewers, for they are supposed to interact with the setting by listening to the audio documentation of the motion sickness experiment, watch the visual recordings, and read the written documents. Wilson probably engaged in this experimental study because of J.G. Ballard’s idea of “the state of humans in weightlessness as ‘a forced return to infantile dependency.’” The viewers in the installation have to analyze Wilson’s role in the experiment; not only that, but they also get to see space presented in a new way. By participating in the installation, the viewers get to see how Wilson physically interacts with the zero gravity environment surrounding her and the effects of her actions. They are able to see space in a way they are not accustomed to, and consequently, they also get to witness a different experience of the human body.


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Week 10, Michelle Baba - Wrapping up the Class...

I can't believe that this is already the last blog (actually, I suppose I am a little relieved! i'm about due for a break from school...). Overall, this class ended up being a lot different than I expected - completely unlike what I imagined after reading the course information website while enrolling. I thought I was going to be learning about how to use technology and science for art rather than their relationship, the ethical dilemma, and art/science history. I must admit though, I did find myself interested in many of the topics presented. I just wish that we were able to study some of them more in-depth rather than just lightly grazing a huge list of works and subjects. I felt that Steve Kurtz (as a person & as a performance artist) was super fascinating and was a great way to start off the quarter. Learning about CP Snow's two cultures really changed how I view art and science, especially in the context of our school's campus and how it is strictly divided between north and south campus. Prior to the class, I would have never thought of the gap between the two - let alone how to bridge it. So being exposed to artists who integrate nanotechnology and robotics in their art (and reading about scientists and researchers who are inspired by artists' thoughts) was very interesting to me.

Guest lectures. So, our typical slide lectures were always packed with information, artists, and inventions that I had never heard of before... so they were enjoyable and most interesting. However, I do not feel that I can say the same about all of the Wednesday lectures. Though I did enjoy Sean Dockray's energetic personality and Casey Reas' inventive Processing program, some of the lectures from other artists and scientists at UCLA did not seem very related to the course topic of art,science, & techonology. But overall, for being the first quarter that this art/science/technology course was featured, it was very enjoyable and interesting. With some further development (and, as brought up once in discussion, the involvement of a possible second [south campus] professor?) this class has the potential to be great.


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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

nano, james zavala week 9

Nanotechonology is interesting. I do agree that people have been going overboard with things regarding nanotechnology. Other people have abused nanotechnology which is horrible because then it undermines the great possibilities of nanotechnology. After a while nanotechnology will only be seen as a joke in the sense that if everything bares the name then it will no longer be anything special. The fact that creams abuse the name without knowing what it really means actually erkcs me in the sense that people are devoting a lot of their time and attention to nanotechnology for the better of things. I don’t deny that there are some people are utilizing nanotechnology for no purpose but I have hope that there are others out there that will use it to benofit mankind. There are already many advancements that are due to nanotechnology like the nano camera that are used in patients to view there insides and determine what is wrong with a person. There are also the nano chips that fit on the tip of a persons finger tips which is lightweight. Although it may seem that the idea of having nano chips may seem too extensive, if one thinks about it it can be used for many great things. In my mind I think about putting it into a pill which has a computer inside of it that will benefit a sick person one way or other.
I didn’t really understand the whole buckminster fuller thing. I love his work being that he focuses on nature and the fact that it is more stable than things that are manmade. Then I realize the fact that nanotechonlogy is manmade then I realize the fact that they may be looking at buckmionster fuller in the sense that they want to make it successful like buckminster fuller did with his attention to nature. They might then focus on nature when they try to develop any new ideas in nanotechnology to make it prosperous. Nanotechnology can be used for many reasons which will hopefully be applied to great reasons and others wont abbuse it for rediculous reasons. Then again we don’t live in a beautiful world.


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Monday, June 4, 2007

Kiesha Nazarenus, Week 10!!, last week :(

It’s hard to believe that this class is almost over. We’ve covered so much material but as I sat down to write my final essay I began to realize the extent to which everything connects and supports each another. Especially as we discuss this week’s topic, Space Exploration, all the previous topics seem to connect and tie in perfectly.
Why it is that man kind is so interested in the concept of extraterrestrial life? Why is it that we feel it necessary to know what is not known…what drives this desire? Will our interest in space exploration lead to technological advances that will guide our society to a new way of living?
Tens of thousands of UFO reports have been made worldwide. Reports of unusual aerial phenomena date back to ancient times, but reports of UFO sightings started becoming more common after the first widely publicized U.S. sighting in 1947. Now personally I can’t possible look at some of the things people testify to and truly believe it… and frankly because of gut instinct I think UFO’s are a bunch of nonsense, but at the same time there is some convincing evidence out there. At this site I found, http://, astronauts were cited as having testified to witnessing extraterrestrial life and actually believe in what they see. Whether this is true or valid or whether these astronauts are actually sane and credible, I don’t know, and I don’t know if I can fully buy into it BUT it does make you think. These men are up in space where most of society never goes and they testify to seeing UFO’s. In a taped interview by J. L. Ferrando, Major Cooper said: "For many years I have lived with a secret, in a secrecy imposed on all specialists in astronautics. I can now reveal that every day, in the USA, our radar instruments capture objects of form and composition unknown to us.” As I was scrolling down the list of astronauts I froze when I got to Neil Armstrong. Neil Armstrong is quoted for saying that “Aliens have a base on the Moon and told us in no uncertain terms to get off and stay off the Moon” and that unnamed radio hams with their own VHF receiving facilities that bypassed NASA’s broadcasting outlets picked up an exchange where Neil on the moon said “I’m telling you there are other spacecrafts out there, lined up on the far side of the crater edge! They’re on the Moon watching us!” Is this all just a big conspiracy…or are we just hesitant to believe? I mean who are we to say that in some other galaxy there isn’t another life form with similar intelligence to us.
I really like our guest lecturer this week even though the discussion was scientifically based without much discussion of art. It always amazes me when I see the research and projects that are being done at UCLA and Walter Gekelman’s work tops my list. At the end of lecture he briefly touched on a couple practical uses for plasma including some for medical purposes. Class was ending so he didn’t really get to expand on it, but he mentioned how people are trying to engineer new forms of biological tissue by growing it in plasma and plasma torches that can seal tissue instantly and plasma scalpels that will seal while cutting to prevent bleeding during surgery. Medical practice has the potential to change drastically as we form new ways for expanding a person’s life span. But at what point will prolonged life have a serious effect on over-population? When will our fascination for being able to cure everything kick us in the butt?


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week 9- Nanotechonogy

Sorry about doing this post so late! this is the first time this has happened- really busy weekend... i hope you still accept it :)....

As we delve further into the exploration of creativity I understand that people love to challenge the mind. Strange philosophical theories, outlandish art techniques, science that alters natural biology are all ways to question perception, life and who we are. Last week we talked about nanotechnology. I find it so bizzare how scientist continue to get smaller and smaller in their interest. I wonder how far they will go.
When Victoria showed me the tiny robot bugs that destroyed human disease it made me alittle nervous about where the future of medicine will go. If those small machines were in our bodies, I feel like they would break down and the many particles would be trapped in our systems.
Nanotechnology makes me think about the infamous Buckminsterfullerine. The buckminsterfullerine is the simplest of the carbon structures. Buckmister Fuller made his geodesic dome because it was the MOST effectient way to have a structure in nature. So, when we talked about Harry Kroto and Richard Smalley naming their discovered molecule the "buckminster fullerine," ( after Buckminster Fuller's Geodesic dome shape) it made me curious if Buckminster fuller knew about this molecule before the scientists dicovered it.

Home > Nanotechnology: small science, big deal > Under your skin > What is nano-sized healthcare? >
Early days The arrival of nanomachines that could help repair our bodies is a long way off. Before we can design these devices, we need to understand how things work on this tiny scale. Most of this research is still at a very early stage.Scientists at Oxford University are studying how the tails - or 'flagella' - of some bacteria work. This type of tiny motor could be used in future as a propeller for delivering drugs around the body.

Here is a nanotechonology exhibit I found on the web!

Naturally nano
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Scientists are studying how the tails of some bacteria work so they can design tiny propellers to deliver drugs around the body.Video: Rowland Institute, HarvardBroadband Version
Requires Windows Media Player v6.4 or greater. Nanotechnology: small science, big deal > Under your skin > What is nano-sized healthcare? > ">more informationhttp:// Home > Nanotechnology: small science, big deal > Under your skin > What is nano-sized healthcare? >


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Week 9, section 4

Well, I forgot to do this post until late and so I hope that this will only have points docked rather than not counted at all...
Anyway, Nikola Tesla is one of my heroes and so I was very sorry to find that the speaker, Professor James Gimzewski only talked about him for a little while at the end. Still, I found Professor Gimzewski's ideas to be amazingly clear and insightful. We've reached a point in life when philosophers are saying that we have reached a point where we are no longer progressing but are simply reliving past achievements. I think the prime reason for this is humanity's lack of ability to come up with REALLY new technology and ideas. In Jean Baudrillard's Transparency of Evil, the author states that "this is the state of simulation, a state in which we are obliged to replay all scenarios precisely because they have all taken place already, whether actually or potentially." (102). To an extent, this is very true. We all ascribe to the same strings of logic leading to the exact same resulting ideas and choices. It is for this reason, above all others that I think that the merging of art and science is essential for our future. I like how Gimzewski called nano-computing "uninteresting" while most scientists all over the world believe that quantum computing is our very future although I would even go so far to say that nanotechnology to cure all our ailments is even uninteresting. The idea of nanotechnology applied to medicine has been discussed for some time and I believe that there is a school that will continue thinking of novel medicinal applications of nanotechnology but this idea is as overused as nanocomputers. I think as long as we have a group of people working on these ideas, if we want progress, we will need to continue thinking of new ideas. This is why I loved Nikola Tesla so much; while others were concerned with "the usual method," Tesla would always choose the road less traveled or the idea less explored. Off the top of my head, from prior research, some examples are the idea of flight, the deahtray, and wireless energy transmission. As of late, scientists are finding problems with technology as many of the technologies we've made thus far involve moving parts which wear down eventually due to friction, drag, and many other external forces. While many people tried to mimic the bird as it flapped or created propeller operated airplanes, Tesla was already experimenting with an idea that we have recently discovered--ion wind. Ion wind works on the idea of taking air particles, ionizing them in a filter, and accelerating them using electromagnets to simulate a strong gust of wind. NASA recently used this property to create the ion drive engine in the Deep-Space 1, however, Tesla already envisioned this concept more than a half century before it was actually put into use.
Tesla's death ray was another idea that was outside of everyone's grasp even now. When creating it, he envisioned it to be an item that would bring peace and stability. The death ray was an machine that worked similar to a rail gun which accelerates particles at very high speeds using magnetic fields. The idea was that it could be used for defense where people would create fields that bombs could not penetrate because the death ray would shoot them down, but instead, current defense specialists have abused the idea, turning it into a weapon. To further the claim that Tesla intended the invention to bring peace, he distributed part of the plans to every country so that they had to work together in order to produce working models. I don't believe anyone would think to create something with such a noble purpose besides Tesla.
Finally is Tesla's ideas about energy. I thought this was one of the most amazing inventions that he ever tried to achieve. Tesla saw the world in its state where there were countries where people were starving without clean water or electricity and understood that people needed these things and bad and so his goal was ultimately to bring electricity to every corner of the globe for free. Tesla was the first person to ever view technology as a right to every human being. Thus, he developed several ways of generating electricity that were unexplored like using thermocouples to get power from heat or from gathering energy from the ionosphere or from using turbines on Niagara Falls. This way, he could get energy for free. Then, he could transmit energy over long distances using his tesla coils as energy transmitters and receivers which he could place all over the globe. No one else thought to utilize wireless energy or would sacrifice so much to build something that would get so little profit however Tesla was willing to give his thoughts and inventions to society without expecting so much as a pretty penny.
It is this unhindered thought process, where one takes one idea and exhausts its applications entirely in novel ways just for the sake of benefiting society, that all people must learn to use. Otherwise we will make no progress. This is why art is necessary to technology; without the artist's creativity and daring, there would be no interesting new technology--we'd all be stuck in the Stone Age.
I'm expecting a lot of good things to come from the Tesla conference on Friday. I hope it meets my expectations. I think he's the definitive third culture as every work he ever did was a piece of art that displays itself in the gallery that is the world in all of our technologies today.


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Juliet Lee - Week 9 - Nanotech

Wednesday's lecture brought up lots of questions in discussion about what is the role of the artist and the role of the scientist. It is interesting because before this class I had never really considered the question as the basis for any serious debate. But now in this class I see that it is an important question to be addressed, as well as the responsibilities each have towards the general public. It's a fact that artists are making social commentaries on current events that are transpiring these days, but I feel like artists can take it too far. I think that its important for both scientist and artists to respect each field of study, right now in lecture I still favor scientists because it still seems more legitimate, but week after week I gain more information that makes me wonder what it is that I am missing about art that so many other people understand? This weeks topic of nanotechnology was interesting. It sounds like the study of science fiction to make it into fact. I like that this concept has a direct link to art through Buckminster Fuller and the buckminsterfullerenes. Unless it was pointed out directly to me, which it was, science is the product of scientists trying to recreate things that they read about or saw in the movies as youngsters. Art really does play an influencial role in our imaginations that mold our minds into new shapes as we develop. It's really an amazing phenomenon. The guest speaker James Gimzewski gave a very entertaining talk to the class. His comparison of art and science as "rubbish" put science into another perspective for me. It's hard to think of science as something to not be taken seriously. That scientific research papers need to be read and cited in order to be meaningful was another interesting point that Prof. Gimzewski made. I don't think that that is necessarily the case, just because something has not been read does not make it any less meaningful. If in the future someone finally reads the work and it can contribute to someone else's findings then, doesn't that give the paper meaning? If an artist created a beautiful work but did not share it with others then does it also lose its meaning?


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Sunday, June 3, 2007

Alexander Yeh, Week 9, Nanobots Already Exist

During the lecture by James Gimzewski, one of the ideas that stuck with me was that nanotechnology allows the feasibility of much more than before, so much more that it cannot be though of through the usual perspective of scientists but must be seen through the perspective of artists. While the possibility of what can be done is far less bounded when perceived by artists, the reality is that the current artwork is not taking advantage of this.

I believe that with all the work done by scientists involving manually manipulating the position of molecules is esentially useless. We can easily image the vast possibilities of what can be done with manipulating individual molecules. The only barrier of realizing these possibilities is a manufacturing process capable of such manipulation on a large scale.

However, there is already an industry which manufactures trillions of nano-scale devices daily. In the electronics industry, the feature size of integrated circuits is approaching within the next several months 40 nanometers. The manufacturing challenges of creating transistors in this scale are already being tackled by engineers in this field. Molecular size limits the industry trend of downscaling of feature size, demanding that new technologies and new methods of manufacturing be develops to keep up with the standard trend of downscaling stated by Moore’s law. Moore’s Law is the pacesetter of the industry, stating that the feature size will be halved every approximately 18 months. While the feature size of integrated circuits has not been sub 100nm for long, nanotechnology has existed in the semiconductor industry for decades. In the article “Nanotechnology and the End of Moore’s Law” by David Bishop found at , Bishop tells how for some time in VLSI CMOS technology, the technology for semiconductor manufacturing, individual components have been on the nanoscale.

While many expect a huge paradigm shift with nanotechnology, I expect that the reality will still be based on old ideas applied to new venues. This scale of VLSI manufacturing is translates to mechanical devices with micro electrical mechanical systems (mems), described at the site . Both VLSI and mems rely of the same chemical, optical, and mechanical processes for their manufacturing. People do not realize that nanobots already exist, just not at the complexity imagined by science fiction. David Bishop states that, “While in a decade or more much of the standard approach will be nanoscale, it will not feel like a revolution, but like an evolution—though rapid, it will still be an analytic continuation of what has gone on before.”

Thus, the work done by artists involving the individual manipulation of carbon monoxide molecules to create words is much like the GFP bunny by Eduardo Kac. It is a technology that has been around for a very long time, does not contribute anything to the scientific community, and does little to expose the public to the cutting edge of technology. However, unlike the GFP bunny, it is being replicated many times over. Imagine a GFP chicken, a GFP goose, and a GFC duck all created as artwork.


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Week 9 - Christopher Flannery - Nano

The first point I took from the article by Jim Gimzewski and Victoria Vesna about nanomemes was the limit of the general public’s perception of concepts such as the nanometer. This reminded me off my Astronomy 3 class, the Nature of the Universe, when the professor tried to communicate the enormous size of existence through analogies. It also reminded me of the book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy when a main character is placed in a machine that forces an individual to realize their size and importance in relation to the entire universe; his head explodes. I think it will be quite a while until the majority of people grasp concepts like this: even as a privileged and educated man, I struggle to myself. This dilemma relates back to last week’s topic about human consciousness and the limits of our senses. If humans don’t understand or relate to scales such as nanometers or galaxies, can it effectively be used in art? I do think the feeling one gets when thinking about the concepts is a desirable goal of art. When I googled “nano art”, the third link that came up was to NANO, Professor Vesna’s project with Jim Gimzewski. I think that this work is successful in making the audience consider that effects that nanotechnology will have on the world: the cameras at the entrance representing the threat to privacy, stimulation through tactile, visual, and audio environments, and interactive biological installations.
The discovery of the Buckminsterfullerene reassures me that nature is the best artist of all and that all areas of design can profit from the study of natural bodies. Buckminster Fuller predicted the shapes of many natural structures by drawing diverse formations and scientific theories. Some people credit him as the father of nano-art because of his foresight. After our study of tensegrity and the amazing properties of the domes, it doesn’t surprise me that this molecule is incredibly stable. Some people credit him as the father of nano-art because of his foresight.
Considering the current state of war and terrorism, nanotechnology could help in defense or be a dangerous weapon. When I read about nano-robots being used as anti-bodies, I thought of the possibility of someone creating a swarm of nano-robots to kill or control masses. When I searched for material on this topic, I found about “Grey Goo” which is a science-fiction scenario in which nano-robots reproduce and spread to consume our entire ecosystem. There are many similar theories of the apocalypse, many of which remind me of “The Matrix.”
Science is making a revolutionary and incredibly fact impact over the course of a lifetime and art should be keeping up. It must reflect and comment on our full spectrum of consciousness, but I am not sure how this is possible because science is advancing so quickly and our understanding is always behind.

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Anna Marks Week 9 Nanotechnology

This week’s lecture was very interesting despite the time constraint. I know very little about nanotechnology and it was fascinating to learn about the connection between the art and science of nanotechnology. Lectures like this make me happy I took this course because I probably never would have been exposed to this information otherwise. Because this week’s topic was cut short into one lecture, I decided to research nanotechnology on my own. I discovered that nanotechnology is “anything smaller than microtechnology.” Another alternate term that was recently adopted was zettatechnology. Many things are produced with the use of nanotechnology and two of the main things are small machines and computers, and regular objects that are produced with the use of nanoscaled systems and materials, making it exact and very specific. This is very useful in the world because it allows for machines and other products to be even more carefully created and make things more precise. An interesting product that has been used and created thanks to nanotechnology is the nanocomposite, which is used in some cars like the GM safari and the Astro Vans. They “generate improvements in strength and reductions in weight” and allow the car to reduce its fuel use and increase the longevity. It lowers the weight of the materials used and makes them more durable.
Here’s a website that provides more information about nanotechnology:
I really enjoyed the guest lecturer this week. Professor James Gimzewski was nothing like I expected and he seemed very pessimistic about the world and the future. After stating that 95% of all research and science is “crap” I was in shock because I previously believed that all research produces some useful information, and I thought it was very odd that he would argue this point. However, I enjoyed how he had collaborated with Professor Vesna on some of her projects and I think that the research and products that he does do have a great impact on science. I was especially fascinated with the butterfly project he was working on, and I completely enjoyed the story and anecdotes that went along with it.

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Nanotechnology, Week 9

Nano Technology

Nano technology is a microscience. Robots so small they can fit into our blood stream? A discussion topic came up this week that seems like it would open up a whole new world for artists. In a sense, it is like 3-Dimensional drawing because it would be almost effortless to create an image. It would definitely be a very effective way for someone to map an idea rather quickly that they wanted to show someone. I think it could potentially lead to the uprising of new artists that could create models with less "effort."

I also found a new respect for Buckminster Fuller because I realized fully how much he has contributed to both art and science. The guest lecture from last week discusss certed the importance of art in making new scientific discoveries. That has certainly shown up in this example. Furthermore, these new developments also connect to nanotechnology. In discussion, we spoke about the idea of creating very small motors that run on different magnetic fields. These motors will have many scientific implications, some discussed here: Specifically, the idea to move small objects around might be critical for later medical developments.

This is the obvious site to go to when questioning the ideas around nanotechnology: Apparently, these will be good developments for OLEDs and a lot of science systems.

I was watching Modern Marvels casually one day while eating pizza at a local joint. On the TV, all of the sudden appeared these televisions taken out of tubes and unrolled like posters, placed on a table, then turned on and they worked perfectly. Details can be seen here: Also, this thought led me to an idea I heard about that the military is developing. Apparently, the military is developing a helmet that would allow a soldier to see in 360 degress, all angles, giving a fairly significant advantage in the battlefield. I researched this but was not able to find any information on it, so it could be well concealed or might be a prototype idea. Either way, this does not sound like a completely impossible idea. Already, I remember this from a previous discussion as well, researchers have begun to develop different ways to help the blind see without surgery. Cameras can pick up certain color signatures, and based on how light or dark they are they would differ between two tones. It would be primitive, but it would most certainly help with motion.

In the middle of this diary,, the article discusses the development of nanotubes (picture).

These tubes could isolate the molecules that harbor very important chemical reactions. It could also lead to many more quantum discoveries in this realm. For example, certain chemical reactions could be mapped perfectly and isolated for certain processes that could reduce fuel costs, create new fuel ideas, etc.

It is clear that science holds the key to the future. But art does as well, because it was art that helped lead to the discovery of Bucky Balls and new molecule types that harbor a great capacity for dissection.


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Week 9 - Daniel Baker - Feeling is Believing

In James Gimzewski’s lecture on Wednesday, he mentioned as he described the Scanning Tunneling Microscope that “Feeling is believing.” This statement seems to be imperative to a field like nanotechnology, where the traditional observational sense of sight has become useless. As mentioned in “The Nanomeme Syndrome” article, the idea that ‘seeing is believing’ has become obsolete; a strange new sensation for a culture that relies so heavily on sight within daily interactions. Just like Gimzewski stated, we experience the world (and science) through sensors: interactions with machines and people, and these sensors are changing in the realm of nanotechnology. Modern day is full of visual stimuli, and while the other senses are of course important, it seems as if the sense of sight is most vital. Advertisements, street signs, clothing: everything is geared to first appeal to our sense of sight. Art as well is dominated by the presence of sight, for in order to observe a typical piece of art, one usually only uses their eyes. (“Look but don’t touch!” rings a bell) But in a world where our eyes just do not cut it, this dominant sense is transferred from vision to touch, augmenting the standard way we perceive the world.

The Scanning Tunneling Microscope’s use of a small needle to touch the atoms in order to sense them essentially uses touch in order for us to “see”. It is linked to the neurological occurrence of synesthesia, a condition where people’s senses begin to blend together. Someone diagnosed with synesthesia could report that they can taste music, or that colors have a certain texture to them, fusing the senses together in a similar way the one may “see” what the Scanning Tunneling Microscope “feels.” The condition offers a unique way of perceiving the world. Interestingly, people who have synesthesia understand the occurrence to be completely natural, and do not see anything strange about it, something that is quite the opposite for people who do not observe the world in such ways. Now scientists are being forced into understanding the world through these terms, using touch as a dominant sense, yet they result to purely visual forms in order to explain their findings.

A test to see if a person has synesthesia (the one on the right is an example of what an affected patient might see)

Another area that Gimzewski presented that also shows links to synesthesia is the appearance of music based theories in these new fields. Quantum mechanics and string theory both employ the fundamentals of sonic vibrations to explain their occurrences, creating a bridge between sound and vision. In order to “see” the truth and draw a mental picture, the sights of sound (waves) are used as explanation. One must draw from many senses in order to fully comprehend the theories. The traditional visual form is starting to become inadequate to comprehend the intricacies of the universe. Visual art no longer is an accurate portrayal of the world like it used to be, for we are getting to the point where science is making it clear that there is much more required to understand our lives and what we are made of than simple visualizations. The qualities of these new fields seem to be leading society into a different mode of perceiving the world than what they are used to; it becomes more apparent that a larger dependence on other senses other than vision is required to understand and accept the fundamentals that make up life.


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Boris Lipkin - Week 9 - Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology seems to be the technology of the future. All of the fantastic things that we see in movies or read about in books is what nanotechnology hopes to achieve. The world right now is rigid, stiff, and inflexible. Nanotechnology offers the key to make it malleable and easier to control and change things. The possibilities for nanotechnology offer everything from a cure to cancer to the elimination of carbon emissions.
I think one of the most interesting projects in the works for nanotechnology are nanoshells. Nanoshells are tiny hollow spheres that are only a few nanometers in size. They can be used to physically destroy cancer. The problem with cancer is that while most cells have a timing mechanism as to when they are supposed to die, cancerous cells don’t have that so they spread out destroying the body. How nanoshells work is they are covered with antibodies and inserted (probably injected) into the body. They would then attach themselves to the cancerous cells. After they are attached, a laser is pointed at the skin of the person and while it does not do any harm to the skin it heats up the nanoshells. As the nanoshells heat up they literally end up cooking the cancer cells to death. This process is pretty painless and would be able to destroy cancerous cells intravenously without causing harm to the person like chemotherapy does.
Nanotechnology has the potential to change the world and just as the internet and telecommunications did in the 1990s. The impact that nanotech could have on society is immeasurable, the problem is that I don’t know how long it will be before that impact can be felt. While it seems to be right around the corner, the technology might be anywhere from years to decades (I hope not centuries) away. I’m sure that the struggles that we face now regarding nanotechnology will be looked at by people in the 22nd century as we now look at the early computers that took up rooms and did less than today’s graphing calculator. It’s amazing how far technology has advanced since even I have been alive, which is less than twenty years. I remember listening to records and not having a computer at home when I was growing up. Now I listen to an iPod and don’t know anyone at UCLA who does not have a laptop, let alone a computer. It’s amazing how far we’ve come in such a short period of time and it’s just as exciting to see where we will be twenty years from now, with lots of nanotechnology I hope.


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The work of physicist-turned-artist Julian Voss-Andreae which demonstrates that even objects as large as Buckminsterfullerenes obey the peculiar laws of quantum physics. [wikipedia link]

If I had to come up with my own definition of nanotechnology, it would be the study, analyzing, or producing of really, really small stuff. And as simple and maybe even idiotic as that definition might be I feel that it is as general as it can get to cover the wide range of fields nanotechnology is already integrated with. From science, to art, to tennis racquets, it seems that nanotechnology is everywhere, whether we see it or not (ha-ha-ha). So it's not too surprising that nanotechnology can be found in the art world.

The ever so popular buckyballs. Did you know there was a buckyball theme as an option for the myucla page before it got revamped? (I had it for my background for a little while =D) We saw more examples through Professor Vesna and Professor James Gimzewski work with buckyballs in Inner Cell. While searching through the internet I found a picture of Julian Voss-Andreae's Quantum Reality (Large Buckyball Around Trees). A physicist who researched buckyballs and quantum physics, turning the science he knew into art. I find it fascinating that such a scientific model, the fullerene, a molecular model of the structure of carbon atoms, is being used in such artistic ways. The geometric "perfectness" of the structure also reminds me of the mathematical patterns and precision of Maurits Escher's work we discussed earlier in the quarter.

During discussion we also found out about claytronics, programmable matter, or in simpler terms electronic playdough. This idea of having tons of little tiny capsule like pieces that work together to form whatever you would like is amazing. If this type of technology actually reaches production in my lifetime I just can't wait to see the effects it will have in not only the art world, but the entire world. As cheesey as the info video was, I could only imagine what else you can do with that type of medium.

Nanotechnology is all over the science world, and in many ways artists are using nanotechnology in their art to make this new science more acceptable to the masses. Just like it was said in lecture, how much of the population actually knows about nanotechnology? Ipod nanos are really the only thing some might know about nanotech. There are many things unknown to the public about nanotechnology but there is some things that can be questioned about what is being done to further the reasearch of nanotech. A funny example Professor Gimzewski had mentioned was the production of a nano wheel, a nano wheelbarrow, and what the heck you could put in a nano wheel barrow. I feel that we have a long way to go with nanotechnology and so much more to learn and discover.


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Michael Nguyen - 9 - This post is mostly empty space

Professor Gimzewski’s presentation was not what I was expecting from a faculty member in the sciences since I had never heard anyone downplay the role of research and publication. It’s true that some researchers spend their life’s work to figure out almost trivial problems but in the end I think it still will have contributed to the advancement of science. It seemed ironic that Gimzewski would criticize how useless most research was while some of his projects didn't seem very revolutionary either. However, he makes a good point that most science is obsessed with obtaining data and taking measurements. I didn’t realize that at the nanometer level, the wavelength of light would be too large to measure certain things and that new methods for observation would have to be developed. I agree that our culture is dominated by visuals and marginalizes the other senses. Nanoscience forces us to consider the other sense since visualization is no longer possible.

What I find interesting about the installation with the sand mandala is that at the highest magnification, the surface of a grain of sand looks a lot like the surface of a large rock or cliff. In nature, without a reference for scale, objects at the microscopic level reflect things at the macroscopic level. The ritualistic destruction of the sand mandala after it’s made reminded me of other art works which aren’t meant to last very long. Two of my favorites are chalk drawings and buildings made of cards.

Kurt Wenner does street “painings” with chalk and other medium which utilize perspective to create amazing effects. His works are destroyed as weather washes or foot traffic destroys them.

Brian Berg is a cardstacker who uses standard playing cards to create lifesized buildings. They are designed to withstand a lot of force but in the end are semi permanent at best.

These things help to remind me that at the molecular level nothing is constant. Atoms are in constant motion and quite fluid.


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jose fernandez, week 9, nanobots and shock treatment

Nanotechnology is a subject which I am not familiar with. Yet it caught my attention when Prof. Vesna discussed of some of the advancements that it can present in the field of science. The root word nano describes objects that are very small, invisible to the human eye. One of the projects that I was amazed by was the tiny robots that went into the body and helped cure malfunctioning parts. This is a great innovation since it can relieve the stress that a doctor goes through working at such a small scale. The tiny robots would be program to attack blood clogs in the blood stream or fight against cancer cells. This goes back the week on robotics. Robots are really becoming a consideration for replacing humans in the medical field. I don’t mean that humans will not be involved anymore but that robots will be used to do the tedious of tasks. For example, I was watching a show on the discovery science channel where three robot arms were being used by a the doctor in another room through remote controls. The robot was performing a small incision that required much precision. The human hand is very shaky and for a doctor to do this is a hard task. All the doctor had to do was guide the arms and the job was done. This is a seriously advanced procedure that still has time to go before it becomes a norm but it sure looks promising.

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Blood clogs can really lead to some serious damage to the human body and the tiny bug-like robots can really aid a person in prevent a stroke or even a heart attack. I can just imagine miniscule objects cleaning out the blood stream over time without regular visits to the hospital. Cancer is another disease that can be cured with this technology. Killing the cancer cells and removing them is a long process. Having these helping out with removing cancer cells just like the clogs with make the doctor’s procedure a bit easier. It will be a constant fight since the robots would take over when the doctor needs to take a break. That way it would be more effective in the sense that the fatigue would not take a strong hold on the doctor.

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This was not talked about in lecture but I remember from my neuroscience class a procedure to fight epilepsy. Neurosurgeons would use shocks to the brain at the neuron level. The doctor would insert a small transmitter in the brain that would conduct electricity from an external source. This procedure induces seizure that would allow the doctors to see what the main problem was. In this same field, immobile patients would have a similar conductor placed in the immobile part of the body. Say a person was unable to walk, an external battery source shocks the potion of the brain controlling the immobile body part, therefore contracting the muscles and producing movement. I cant recall what year was this procedure was developed but I think this was nanotechnology at an early stage.
In the near future every little robot or chip will play a big role in hoe people live their lives. We are beginning to put ourselves at the hand of technology. To some people it can become a scare to think that we might evolving to the point where we are no longer alone as the only human race, but that robots, big and small, will soon live along with us as a norm. medicine is going to be replaced by nano robots.


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vrisela zepeda-nanotech&art

Although this week we were cut short with one lecture it was very very interesting. I had never really talked or learned about the world of nanotechnology. Subjects like this make me glad that I took this course, because it exposes me to new subjects that I would not normally be exposed to. This course has made me see the connections between art and science I never knew existed, but anyway, this week’s topic dealt with nanotechnology, a subject I knew nothing about, however it has been the most interesting by far. Because I really didn’t know much about nanotechnology I decided to look it up and see what I found. As I searched for nanotechnology, I learned that all it is, is a bunch of physics and chemistry put together. Another thing that I found as I was researching nanotechnology was a bunch of products created using nanotechnology. I was amazed at how many products there were that used nanotechnology, some of those products I wouldn’t have even thought that used nanotech. However, I really did not know how nanotechnology could be used to create art, until I saw how nanotechnology and art were used trough Professor’s Vesna’s lecture on nanotech. I was really amazed to see all that can be done using art and nanotechnology. One of the pieces that Professor Vesna did with the guest lecturer that really stuck to my head was the one where they used the sand and the dancers to create designs. I thought that was the most interesting and creative projects they did together. One of the other reason why I really enjoyed this week’s lecture was because Professor Vesna had personally worked together and were on the same page. The reason I say this is because the past guest lecturers have not really been on the same page as Professor Vesna, especially the week we talked about the mind and consciousness when Professor Eric Scerri came to talk to us about his work. One of the other reasons why I really enjoyed this week’s lecture is because I feel that nanotechnology is something that everybody should know about because a lot of products that we use, use nanotechnology. The world of nanotechnology is taking over, it is something that is helping us a lot right now and it will help us even more in the future when new advances are made.


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Week 9, Michelle Baba - Art --> Science

We have always studied the differences between the "two cultures," determining how they have rivaled each other and led to a clear division between the science and art worlds. However, this week while learning about nanotechnology, we stumbled upon yet another question involving the dualing sides: Does science need art? And if so, how/why?

According to Wilson da Silva, an editor at Cosmos Magazine (, "if you boil it down to its most basic elements, science and art are not that far apart. Science is a framework human beings use to try and understand the physical universe. Art is a framework human beings use to understand their place in the cosmos."

Every year, there is less and less space for scientists to explore the universe and it seems that at times, the numbers of questions that bring meaning to such epic endeavors are dwindling. Science is all about the outcome, the finished product that serves a practical purpose. On the other hand, while science does seem to fulfill out physical need, art fulfills our souls and our spiritual side. Art is able to inform science, and communicate some things to the public that data and scientific equipment is not able to. It is able to introduce a new way of thinking that is driving by creativity and self-expression. The possibilities in the art world are virtually limitless...
I think it is interesting to see how the art and science worlds are approaching each other. Sure, we all agree that there is a distinct line separating the UCLA campus into the north (humanities) and the south (math/science) sides, however, they most definitely extend their influence beyond the Bruin Walk divider. One way that I like to see it is, nanotechnology would not exist without the artistic/aesthetic aspect and certain types of art (especially design/media arts) and high tech photos would not exist without the aid of science.

As said by one of Australia's leading Shakespearean actors and directors, John Bell: "Just as artists of the Renaissance were inspired by scientific advances and the discovery of the New World, so artists of today must be fired by science's probing into outer space, to the bottom of the ocean, to the origins of our cosmos and the beginning of time."


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Kiesha Nazarenus, Week 9,

This week was short and compact but nevertheless encompassed a broad amount of information…all of which was interesting and seemed to only support this class’s aim at illustrating the merging of science, technology and art. I feel like this week particularly addressed the science and art aspect. Seeing some of the visuals presented in class on Wednesday amazed me in their simplicity in complexity. At first glance when looking at the atoms arranged to form the letters UCLA in gold and blue I figured it had only taken a few minutes to create. Upon hearing that it took a couple days I realized just how complex this “artwork” really is. Perhaps that is what makes it so beautiful…the complexity in such simplicity.
I’m not really familiar with nanotechnology so I looked it up on wikipedia and read that “it could variously be seen as an extension of existing sciences into the nanoscale, or as a recasting of existing sciences using a newer, more modern term.” I didn’t fully appreciate the meaning behind the word until I glanced at how it is being used and read “although there has been much hype about the potential applications of nanotechnology, most current commercialized applications are limited to the use of "first generation" passive nanomaterials. These include titanium dioxide nanoparticles in sunscreen, cosmetics and some food products; silver nanoparticles in food packaging, clothing, disinfectants and household appliances; zinc oxide nanoparticles in sunscreens and cosmetics, surface coatings, paints and outdoor furniture varnishes; and cerium oxide nanoparticles as a fuel catalyst.”
Of course after reading that nanotechnology is applied to the sunscreen I put on before laying out at the beach I began to wonder why it was artists or I suppose scientists as well would manipulate this technology to create visual creative work we deem as art. Well, like I’m sure many of us did, I googled nanotech and art and clicked on a link that presented me with a Nanotechnology Art Gallery.
Just like with other art I liked some of it and disliked some of it. It was funny because as I would look at different people or organization’s work I would describe them in terms of “oh that is really abstract” or “these pieces contain a lot of patterns” or “I really like the colors in these pieces.” Some were very scientific in approach and others were more artzy in their approach. What characteristics do we classify for being more “artzy” though? I mean when I browse through some just seem to be art and others don’t.
Some of my favorites though were:
Cambridge University who used a lot of bright colour and patterns.
Magnetic Nanotubes where an alloy remains present in the ends of the nanotubes and is magnetic so the image generated shows colours that represent the direction and intensity of the field.
Crystal Kaleidoscope which has a false colour convergent beam electron diffraction pattern recorded at 150kV parallel to the three-fold axis of lanthanum aluminate.
‘Dancing’ quantum dot which is a plan view bright field transmission electron micrograph of a germanium/silicon quantum dot in a silicon matrix.
Magnetic Dot that shows the magnetic microstructure in a natural, finely exsolved intergrowth of magnetite blocks in an ulvospinel matrix.
I also really liked Cris Orfescu’s work though it was much more abstract looking to me and blended into itself.
My favorite was Flamingo which is a 1,1,1,2,2,2-Hexamethyldisilazane hydrolyzed and dried at room temperature.


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Maddddd Scientist

This past week we touched on some of the ideas of engineer, Nikola Tesla, but due to time constraints we were only introduced to some of his theories on a surface level. This week, I took my time to further study the ideals and creations of Nikola Tesla, a pioneer of electromagnetism. What drew my interest in his work was his persona as a "mad scientist." Due to his eccentric personality and bizarre theories, I beleive that he wasn't given the credit he deserved as a scientist during his lifetime. Tesla spent a lot of time investigating energy that was present throughout space and it would just be a question of time when mankind could use their machinery to tap into this energy. Tesla, who is credited for the invention of the radio, studied the craft of transmitting energy wirelessly throughout space.
I found something extremely interesting regarding his personal life. Nikola Tesla(1856-1943)
experienced symptoms of what we now refer to as Osessive Compulsive Disorder. During his lifetime his theories were strongly discredited due to the fact that he was considered "insane" because of the lack of knowledge of his disorder. I believe that had there been treatments for this disorder in the early 1900's it is possible that he could have received better funding and therefore had more freedom to experiment with the theories he was creating and possibly discovered much more about the transmission of wireless energy. He was restrained though, in the sense that he was brushed off and viewed as someone who couldn't be taken fully seriously due to his "partial insanity."
He was aware of his disorder, not having a specific name for it, but he knew that his obsession was drawing people away from his work. He didn't hide from it though. He truly believed that his disorder was irrelevant to the work that he was producing which is why I find him to be a pioneer for "mad scientists."
I will leave you with a couple of quotes from Tesla that i believe explain a lot about how he viewed himself in opposition to those criticizing him:

"The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane." - Nikola Tesla

"I do not think that there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success. Such emotion make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything." - Nikola Tesla


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Kelly Banh- Nanotechnology and Art

Nanotechnology in the art world has taken many forms. From DNA to other atomic and molecular structures and even shapes in nature, artists have used natural inspiration to create nanotech art. Some have played off of Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome, and others have worked off of plants and flowers. One of my favorite pieces is from Ghim Wei Ho of the University of Cambridge Nanoscale Science Laboratory. Ghim Wei Ho, who used a scanning electron microscope, chemical vapor deposition, and Adobe Photoshop, has produced pieces like Nano flowers and Nano trees.

This is a nano flower bouquet, “three-dimensional nanostructure grown by controlled nucleation of silicon carbide nanowires”

These are nano trees.

Pretty pictures- so what?
An article featuring the interactive exhibit of Professor James Gimzewski and Victoria Vesna explains just that. The PBS NewsHour article, “Nano: Where Art Meets Science,” discusses how art can makes science more understandable. This is definitely one of the reoccurring themes throughout the quarter. The relationship between science and art runs deeper than just art used in science and science used in art alone. It serves a greater purpose, and that is to aid the advancement or understanding of one (or both) by utilizing the other. Artists may not fully grasp the works of a scientist and vice-versa. So as a result, the two worlds could have remained isolated. The consequences of this were taught early on in the class after reading C.P. Snow’s article about bridging the gap and moving beyond specialization.
The idea of nanotechnology and art colliding is also symbolically represented. Take nanotechnology- “a field of applied science and technology covering a broad range of topics. The main unifying theme is the control of matter on a scale smaller than 1 micrometre, normally between 1-100 nanometers, as well as the fabrication of devices on this same length scale.” Art has the ability to represent ideas and concepts, as well as things that are concrete. It brings the attention of its audience to topics that may otherwise go unnoticed. It is able to project from a small inspiration and grow; perhaps even continuing to grow after the work of art is completed by the artist in the minds of its viewers. With nanotechnology being so small, art is able to project large ideas from it. Perhaps it will continue to go unnoticed if not influenced by the grand abilities of art to reach a greater audience. In this way, the union of art and science is symbolized the projection of a small scientific concept into a large display of art.
A 2003 National Geographic news article also covered this union. ( It began the article with the say, “seeing is believing,” which is a bit ironic considering the properties of nanotechnology and how it cannot be detected by the naked human eye. Science makes it visible, and art, you can say, makes the science which makes whatever it is that is so miniscule also visible. Professor Vesna is also featured in the article, stating, “This new science is about a shift in our perception of reality from a purely visual culture to one based on sensing and connectivity.” I am intrigued by this “perception of reality.” If art comes to a point of interpretation based on every individual, where exactly is this shift taking place?

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Christine Dang - Week 9 - An Obsession with Minimizing

One of the first classes I took here at UCLA was a Fiat Lux seminar on Nanotechnology with Professor Eshaghian. One of the subjects we covered in this class that I found very interesting was the current populace's obsession with making everything smaller and smaller. Why this obsession? I can understand the usefulness of having things be more compact for portability. However, there is a point where reducing size becomes ridiculous. The example mentioned on Wednesday for one, the microscopic wheelbarrow. Like was mentioned, what is the use of the microscopic wheelbarrow? It's times like these that science annoys me. There is much research out there that really, doesn't have much of a point to it. Doing things simply to continue to prove that they can be done seems utterly useless.

Additionally, the nano-art discussed seemed not so much art but more of the "look at we can do" aspect of science. Sure, the alignment of molecules to spell out UCLA was intriguing, but I don't know if I would classify it as art in the usual sense. However, some nano-art does amaze me. For example, the microscopic sculpture of the bull created by the scientists at Osaka University. Some of the artwork created by Alexa Smith is also very interesting. The strange mix of colors and patterns becomes all the more fascinating when I realize that this piece is created by bombarding a "canvas" of sorts with atoms.

However, this experimentation with nanotechnology is also fairly worrying. As we've seen quite clearly in the discussion of genetic experimentation in the past week, scientists do not seem to have many bounds as to what lengths they will go to. With nanotechnology, what greater damage could come from it?

In class on Wednesday, I remember it was mentioned that science fiction heavily influences and inspires the research in nanotechnology. In the nanotech seminar earlier this year, one of the experiments we discussed was a theoretical "teleporter", much like the ones seen in Star Trek or Star Wars or any other slew of science fiction. What would this experimentation lead to? Would it be like in Spaceballs where bodyparts arrive all misaligned?

Also, another aspect we discussed was the usage of nanobots for biological and medical technology. However, as I discovered from my seminar, many of these tiny little robots are self-replicating, allowing them to handle essentially a problem of any size. But what happens when these self-replicating robots run rampant and essentially reproduce out of control? This then leads to the potential problem of "grey goo", which could cause unpredictable problems for not only the patient they are used in, but also the already heavily damaged environment should they get loose.

Personally, I feel that currently we know so very little of nanotechnology as it is. Perhaps we should be researching more before we delve into the artistic side of things. While I understand that "doing things for the sake of doing things" is a huge part of research and discovering new, unique properties, I believe that these artistic forays should be held off until scientists have a better grasp on what the properties of nanotechnology are. As it is, when substances are brought down to a nano-scale, their properties change dramatically. If so, why so many almost frivolous creations? I see that it is artistic, and I see that it is unique and interesting to do such things with new technology. But at the same time, I feel that it is still too much of an unknown territory to be doing such things.


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Section 3 Week 9 Jacob Janco (Gimzewski)

This past week was a bit short, but the content of the lecture on Wednesday was as far reaching in some instances as it was narrow and closed minded in others. My gut feeling, after hearing him say that 95% of all research and science done today is “crap,” was to either challenge him or simply get up and leave. I wisely put aside my visceral response to his stupid statement and listened to why his work and research was interesting and part of the 3% that is apparently cited and can be construed of as “good” research. Of course I had to avoid the self-contradictory “playful” approach which makes up most of his work (contradictory in the sense that he judged other types of science and engineering as a manifestation of that science as, for the most part, futile endeavors.) So, after this brief introduction I will simply tell you how I will structure this post, the first will be me complaining about Gimzewski’s idiotic statements and the second part will be me praising his accomplishments. I thought it would be fitting to tribute a polarized post to a rather polarized man.

The first problem I had with this man was his statement that 97% of science is crap simply because it is not cited. Perhaps I am misunderstanding this man. The research work I do looking at the internal structure of bone, if published, would probably be a standalone work. It is a biomechanical delineation of fact that no one has done before. His narrow minded statement can be extrapolated to one that calls all of biological research meaningless. The inspection and description of biological systems can be extremely specific, and the body of research work for the sciences is huge. To be “progressive” or to be cited by other research projects and works requires the type of work you are doing to be a progressively minded in and of itself. His research work is cited because nanotechnology has extraordinary funds and is an emergent field that has the potential to make a ton of money. Does he take us to be fools? Research in any field is important if it illuminates some aspect of our world that has not been understood before and it deserves respect. Gimzewski showed himself to be a complete ass when he asked if he could strike some of what he said off the record. Dishonorable to say the least, and I’m sure his less “cited” colleagues would be a bit irked. UCLA is a research campus, and to say that 97% of the work done here is meaningless and stupid is to spit on the institution that pays him and funds his nonsense as well as insult the science students involved in research that were sitting right in front of him.

Now to his actual explorations in nanotechnology; he had me interested for the whole of the lecture. Most importantly, he was the first scientist whose work was solidly grounded in the artistic principles of expression and thought that goes against the paradigm. His work is engaging because it is humanly interesting and shows a playfulness that is somewhat lost in the scientific world. I could relate to this playfulness and disregard for accepted trains of thought that dominated my early entrance into the sciences, and indeed it still does. If someone tells you it cannot be done, simply go out and do it. It is a wonderful research philosophy and he backed this point up with his own work as well as with the scanning tunnel microscope- an ingenious invention that, when explained, seems almost fantastical. Feeling an atom? I also loved his work with the butterflies and the spontaneity of the project. I feel creative minds must be behind the work in this field and Gimzewski certainly explores nanotech in ways that shift current scientific thought.

Here’s a nanomotor that was build by UCB in 2003, I believe. Gimzewski made a lot of sweeping statements and as I recall he somewhat mocked these endeavors to make smaller versions of what we already have. I still don’t understand how a nanotech researcher can say these things: the extraordinary repercussions of making things “smaller” would revolutionize our world, to say the least. Why does he have to make fun of guys who enjoy exploring the weird world of nanorobotics? I’m sure they play with the same notions of paradigm deconstruction and achieving the impossible that he so boldly proclaims.


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Tygue Luecke-Week 9-Nanotech in clothing, mainly

As some faceless comedian once said, “I wanna know when we’re all gonna ditch normal clothes and all just take up the silver space suit.” Seriously, that’s never going to happen. It will never need to happen. But, at least it leads me into my first subject of discussion- nanotech in clothing. As I am a costume/clothing designer myself, I find the idea of electronics weaved into the very fiber (both metaphorically and literally) of clothing quite compelling. Well, here’s an article concerning the chemical properties that cause clothing to be stain and wrinkle resistant:

If you want to read it, start around the part with the picture of the old lady. The first old lady.

This was not the kind of article I was looking for. Let go get something more suitable… Well, once again, I have found an article that I was not looking for. However, it serves its purpose. It explores (shallowly at least) the economic effects of stain-fee clothing, mainly in terms of a decline in the dry cleaning business. Here it is, if you’re super interested:

Finally, here it is:

Unfortunately, I was still unable to find anything of which I have not heard before. Still there’s some cool information about clothes with mp3 players and video cameras.

Despite the fact that these things are semi-cool, I just don’t find it necessary to incorporate electronics into clothing. Aren’t they just fine separately? I sure think so. And that’s because I’m right. Having your basic electronic equipment engrained into your clothes does not make life any easier. It is just as easy to pull earbuds out of your pocket as it is to pull them out of your ugly metallic vest. And that brings me to another thing: why do all those kinds of clothes (the ones that try to be all kinds of high-tech) insist upon looking as though they’re from the costume racks of a lame movie set in the lame near future? The clothing pieces themselves have not become so full of innovative technology that they need to be threaded with silver and gold, nor do they need any kind of extra pockets or hoods or anything. That just makes them ugly and even less functional than they would be without those stupid accessories.

Okay, on an altogether different not, I very much appreciated Mr. Gimzewski’s statement that “most science is rubbish.” It was awesomely refreshing to hear this straight from the lips of a scientist, especially after listening to the ever self-absorbed Dr. Scerri. I also enjoyed hearing about the ways in which corruption in the scientific field compared to corruption in the arts. And I was not surprised at all to hear that the two are equally corrupt, just in different ways. Lastly (and I am sad to be ending on such a comparatively inconsequential note), I was enthralled when he was telling us about how the compressed matter of a human body would be 100th the width of of a human hair. FASCINATING! My friends and I are marveling over that RIGHT NOW. And………. we’re done.

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Monica Tse - Wk 9 - A fantastical view of nanotechnology?

What the term “nanotechnology” encompasses seems to have broadened a great deal from its traditional notion of “the ability to construct items from the bottom up” to today’s national definition of “anything smaller than 100 nanometers with novel properties”. Originally, there seemed to be more of a mechanistic purpose utilized in engineering molecules, but now that this field of science has become more popular, I think that the economy and market have begun to play a role in how people understand nanotechnology.


As always, people are always trying to find the next best thing that will earn a profit, and it seems that today, this thing is nanotechnology. As I googled the uses of nanotechnology, I came across a list of consumer products that utilize nanotech. It was interesting to see how many different applications this science could be useful for (especially since I am not too familiar with it or its uses), but as I continued to scroll through the pages and pages of products, the more ridiculous they seemed to me. True, some of the products were legitimate, and I know that nanotechnology applied to other fields such as space exploration and research have exciting implications, but a great deal of them seemed useless. I felt like much of them were simply the result of businesses taking advantage of the nanotechnology craze in order to prey on consumer excitement and desire to be a part of the ‘high tech in-crowd’.

It made me wonder about the effects of nanotechnology’s rise in society. Yes, there are many implications from the idea of being able to build up from the molecular level, as much precision can be acquired, but are these implications something that can truly become reality? Drexler talks about how molecular machinery could guide molecules into specific positions, thus being able to create a product that is precisely constructed from the very smallest level. Under this notion, I understand why there would arise so much excitement about the possibilities of nanotechnology. But what about the length of time it takes to move these molecules around and the amount of time the organization of those molecules actually last. I was reminded of the lecture video of ‘UCLA’ being spelled out using molecular machinery. However, it took two days to create, and the molecules did not remain in place for very long. If using high tech machinery creates something that lasts only temporarily, how can there be EFFECTIVE mass-produced products that function true to its seller’s advertisement? I think that the rapid onset of nanotech-themed products that we use in everyday life – such as the mouse, keyboard, linens, air purifiers –only offers somewhat modified products that suppliers sell under the name of cutting-edge research in order to take advantage of the cultural craze.

Another concern that crossed my mind was the potential for an overdependence on technology whose reliability cannot be fulfilled by the actual technology. For example, on the previously mentioned nanotech consumer products list was a computer mouse that has a “Nano coating containing antimicrobial properties built in to protect the product from bacteria surviving on its surface”. Although in theory this MIGHT be effective, but is it actually effective? If the technology is not effective, it may create a false sense of safety for its users, causing them to haphazardly ignore the logical safety precautions such as washing their hands. This may perhaps be a stretch to say this, but considering past trends in society’s response to increasingly better technology such as the not completely true idea that hand-sanitizer can serve as a universal protector from common germs, I could see this as a potential result.



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Nolan Bennett - Week 9 - Beware: Rant Ahead

Art may very well be the honest expression of multiple senses: a myriad of perspectives align to grant the receiver some grasp of a concept or construct. However, it is obviously most commonly the eye that assumes the largest role in the reception of any artwork – outside of interactive art, there is a serious lacking in artistic appreciation for any sense other than the ocular.

It is with this in mind that nanotechnology presents itself as an aberration and a seemingly unnatural manifestation of artistic talent: without a mechanical (or perhaps bionic) eye, man is unable to witness that which renders itself smaller than a grain of salt. Despite this, artists build abacuses, wheelbarrows and bulls at a nanoscopic scale; the adroitness and adeptness fitting a hand capable of creating art in these dimensions is unfounded, and so the means of creation itself is furthermore an extension of human perspective. The phenomenon of art that can neither be molded nor witnessed through basic human biology is similar to my conceiving of a robot painting his own work and then concealing it from my view unless I coerced him into presentation. This disconnect between skill and perspective inherent in nanotechnological art is unparalleled – while Casey Reas’ art may concern little coordination of the hand, the eye is but the only tool required to witness his creations.

When Stelarc claims that “the body is obsolete,” he is arguably incorrect – regardless, his words in the context of art neither viewable nor generated by human biology alone resound anew. In the pursuit of human technology and the progress of human sensations, the body is obsolete so far as you push it to obscurity and ineptitude. Were I to tell you the human nose is obsolete in that it doesn’t detect those scents by which a bloodhound navigates the world I would be falsely displacing you in a context not your own – in the same way, the human eyes and fingers may be only as obsolete as we raise the bar by which they evolved to operate. Perhaps Stelarc’s comment breathes more clearly in this environment, within the context of a human world madly after technology whose presence it will shortly be unable to even detect. If the chimp evolves to wear top hats and suits and solves world hunger, perhaps the human mind and body are obsolete; however, if I create a robot that solves world hunger and operates life better than I do, it would be fair to say I am obsolete to the point that my creation of that robot is no longer needed. This is all a long-winded way to make the claim that while nanotechnology as a science may prove its presence in the unperceivable world of minor dimensions through proof and promise, the presence of a nanoscopic bull (unless magnified) conveys to me little perspective other than that which I can never single-handedly attain.

With the majority of topics presented thus far, there has been a method to the madness that connects art to science – however, the sentiment here divulges as it is unclear personally as to why nanotechnology would serve the pursuit of artistic message. Perhaps the beating of a butterfly’s heart is beautiful in its unexpected rhythm and soft contours – however, that art which teaches me something about life generally exists on a plane of my own perception. After all, it is on that plane that I make the majority of my decisions.

Or, maybe I’m just burnt out.


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Jacob Karp - Week 9 - Nano-Revolution

Though this past week was short on the lecture front, it was extremely interesting. Never before had I been exposed to the nature of molecules on the sub-micro-scale. I find nanotechnology fascinating especially because it seems apparent that it will either be the next technological revolution or have a pivotal hand in such a revolution. The potential implications of this technology seem incredibly vast from personal and environmental health to art.

I thought the ideas that Professor James Gimzewski dismissed as to straight forward and engineering-based such as nano-gears that made a few rotations before falling apart were fascinating despite their being impractical. The idea that we have the potential to create what are essentially mechanical machines that are comprised of a few (relative) molecules is almost unfathomable.

I researched nanotechnology to see what areas it is predicted to become a potential resource to improve present situations. The first area I stumbled upon was climate change. Nanoparticles are estimated to potentially reduce CO2 by 4.5 million tons if incorporated into diesel fuel and solar panels alone. It is also believed that nanotechnology will play a large roll in the eventual use of hydrogen as an automotive fuel, helping create more efficient means of hydrogen storage and production.

Nanotechnology can also be used to differentiate substances that an individual has consumed merely by exposing “Antibody-Functionalized Nanoparticles”. It has already been used to distinguish a smoker from a non-smoker through the individual’s metabolites that are revealed in their fingerprint.

Nanotechnology is also being used for detecting cancer in early stages as well as carrying anti-cancer drugs to the affected cells. By using nanoscale delivery vessels it is hoped that it will become possible to carry anticancer vaccines and prevention agents to cells throughout the body to prevent cancer from developing.

The medical gains through nanotechnology development is possible because nanoparticles are small enough to penetrate a cell of an organism without be invasive.

I find nanotechnology interesting solely for its scientific implications, but I find it equally intriguing is its incorporation into art. The Quantum Tunnel piece that Victoria and Professor Gimzewski created is a particular piece that comes to mind because of the atomic reaction to a person as they walk and are mirrored by a projected image of themselves that scatters as the subject moves. The fact that it is atoms that are composing the piece and are visually responsive to the viewer/subject is incredible.

I did wish that Professor Gimzewski would have gone into further detail on how the pieces he’s taken part in are operational in a manner slightly more sophisticated because I still feel that I don’t have a true grasp of how a projection can respond to shadows.


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How art and science cooperate

I really enjoyed the guest lecture this week. The reason why I felt that the lecture was so good is because it made some connections that I have been striving to understand all quarter. I was really interested in this class because of the idea of combining art and science, and how they could complement or contradict one another. However, throughout this whole quarter I have felt that the integration between art and science was not as apparent to me as it was to others.

I felt that many of the lectures and guest speakers highlighted several ideas which were constantly reiterated throughout the quarter. I felt like when we were discussing generative art, we were mainly discussing art and science being integrated because we were talking about using "intelligent" technology to create art. However, while this is integrated, it didn't satisfy me. Furthermore, when we began talking about molecular biology and transgenic art, it seemed like the artists were mainly trying to criticize science. It seemed that they were trying to create art that highlighted the dangers of genetics.

Furthermore, we had some guest lectures from some scientists that didn't seem to integrate art and science. One of the speakers seemed to be advocating the alternative of what the class was trying to accomplish, and the other speaker seemed to be stating that the integration of artists in science was in order to make pretty pictures that others could more easily understand. I was searching on the internet and reading about some nano-art and I found an article about Dr. Vesna's nano-art show. The main point of the article was that artists could make renditions of quantum mechanics and nanoscience that could make a complicated subject understandable for someone who doesn't have 15 years of math under their belt. I found other artists websites that did nano-art. They also claimed that their main objective was to make nanoscience more accessible to the public. I am still not satisfied with this integration of art and science. I think that there must be some more integral role for artists than to simply criticize science or to make science visible to the public. One could argue that it doesn't make sense for an artist's job be to critique science because they might not even know more about science than the average person. They may not have a more formal science education.

However, I thought that last weeks lecture made the connection that I was waiting for all quarter. When we were discussing nanoscience I thought that it was really interesting that years before it was feasible scientifically, a nano-artist explored the possibilities of nano-robots. I think that nanoscience is a perfect subject for artists because they can understand the basic principles and then allow their creative, free mind to explore all possibilities. I can't tell you how many nano-sculptures one can find online, and if that is what scientists are doing to advance science, then frankly they NEED the help of a different creative body to feed them creative, original, and clever boundaries to explore . I think that this is a great definition of how art and science can feed off one another.


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Allen Wang Week 9 - The Future of Technology

With our faced paced civilization at work, there is a great mystery on what the human race can think of next. Right now we can create microscopic item, such as chips(not the ones we eat) with nanotechnology. Yet, nanotechnology is not our only future. In our hands, we hold millions of other possibilities for the future.

This is the future of the well know TV. Now that there are plasmas, we think that WOW! Plasma TVs are so thin and u ligh enough to hanf on the walls! Well you havent seen OLEDs yet. Though it is an idea in progress, I can see a great future for it. No longer would we need to be afraid of our TV breaking when an earthquake occurs or the space we need to clear out to place the big screen TV. Being as thin an flexible as it is, when scientists to manage to enlongate the lifespan of the OlED, I can see the television market being dominated by this type of technology.

Well, if we can make light emit from material as thin as cardboard, why not make it emit from our clothes? I don't really know how this technolgoy works (fiber optics?) but I can guess is that if this technology ever went into the clothing industry, the profits would skyrocket. I mean, who doesnt want a T-shirt that emits light and changes randomly? Its just too friggin' cool to give up!

This shows the other innovations that Philips has been coming up with. What realyl intrigued me was their version of the television. It can shift around to be on a comfortable level of the viewer. So you can now watch the television standing, sitting, and even laying down and you'll be comfortable to watch the telivision in any position. Plus, with an added bonus, it becomes a mirror when not in use. It suddenly becomes a 2 in one package.

Yet another Philips event. The technology that was realyl interesting in this one is the ability to draw notes on the refrigerator. Now, there would be no more need for magnets and post-it notes on the fridge. Now all you need is a finger and you can draw whatever you want and leave any note you want on the fridge. The cool ripple effect of moving the note is also a very nice touch to the new innovative technology.

On the last note, watch this very inspiring and thoughful video about the present and the future. I'll let the video speak for itself.


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Julie Fair- Week 9- Seeing is Believing

The field of nanotechnology is certainly intriguing. There is something very alluring about a world you intuitively know exists, yet cannot see or ever hope to see. Professor Vesna mentioned that this has led to a paradigm shift, in which “seeing is believing” is no longer valid, and has been replaced by “feeling is believing.” As far as methods for research go, I suppose this idea is legitimate, since nanotechnology uses the Scanning Tunneling Microscope which uses a version of “feeling” to map out the physical properties of the otherwise invisible nano world. Personally, however I feel that without the visual images produced by such “feeling” technology, the nanotechnology field would still lack validity. Here is where art comes into play. Visual images of the nano world are needed for people to be able to wrap their heads around the concepts being put forth relating to nanotechnology, and in turn to validate the field itself. Quoting a website pertaining to art and nanotechnology, “So how do you make something so minuscule and abstract appear real to the ordinary eye? Why not through art?”
Both real images from Scanning Tunneling microscopes and artists renditions, can help to make the nano world more realistic to the ordinary eye. These techniques could be a great way to get information about nanotechnology out to the general public, who at this point seem largely in the dark on the subject, and as they have already begun to, these techniques could be used to aid in education, where students are studying organisms and chemicals at the nano level. Although these images and renditions may not depict the nano world exactly, they can still serve an important function as the bridge between the abstract invisibility of the nano level and the concrete visibility of the macro level. Here is an example of an artistically colored image from the nano level and an example of an artists rendition of a molecule, also at this level:

I also think that the naming of nano-sized objects after more concrete and relatable objects could be an effective means of making the nano world less abstract. In the case of bucky balls for example, knowing that their structure resembles a geodesic dome, as designed by their namesake, makes it much easier to visualize the invisible molecules structure. This could be used more widely to make molecular structure more concrete to the novice.

On a somewhat separate note, I just thought James Gimzewski's comment that atoms are mostly nothing was very interesting. I find this to be a very difficult concept for me to get through my head. I look at my body and I see material; visual, tangible, concrete material. It seems impossible that a body like this could be constructed of subunits that are mostly nothing. The ratio just doesn't seem correct. If each subunit is mostly nothing then shouldn't my body be mostly nothing? And in this case, how would it have the structure that it does? What is it then that there is enough of present within me along with the "mostly nothing" that gives me my structure?


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Duy Phung -Week 9 -Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology is indeed a powerful tool for humankind in the future. Although nanotechnology is still in its infancy of development, it holds great promises and is well advertised in medicine and military. However, since only “feeling is believing” principal applies to nanoscience and nanotechnology, visualization art is essential for people, especially the non-science, to grasp the work of nano-scientists. Nevertheless, we don’t know if nano-materials might cause any harmful effect to us in the coming years.
“Nanotechnology will give us vast wealth in terms of control over the environment. It also might completely destroy us at either a physical level or just from giving us so much synthetic enjoyment we never bother going into space.”
- Keith Henson

Like stem cell research gives hope in regenerative medicine, many researchers believe that nanotechnology in medicine has potential to treat cancer. As Dr Gimzewski mentioned in lecture, due to its small size, nanobots distinguishing cancerous cells v.s. health cells in theory could easily get anywhere inside human body to target small group of cells, such as cancerous cells, and destroy them, thus preventing them from development and metastasis. These nanobots would be typically devices ranging in size from 0.1-10 micrometres (10-6m) and constructed of nanoscale or molecular components. This type of treatment would be less pervasive, so greatly reduce the level of human suffering.

Not only would nanobots be effective in cancer therapy, but also other nanomedical machines, such as nanoparticle drug delivery and nanovaccinology machines, are predicted to be applied widely in the next 20 years. These machines will be used by any doctor in the world to diagnose illness as “mobile nanorobots, equipped with wireless transmitters, might circulate in the blood and lymph systems, and send out warnings when chemical imbalances occur or worsen. Similar fixed nanomachines could be planted in the nervous system to monitor pulse, brain-wave activity, and other functions." (

The technology of creating nanobots at or close to the scale of nanometers (10-9m) still remains a hypothetical concept at this time. Such thing happening at a minute scale like that is hard to believe for non-scientists. We are encoded by evolution with advanced sense of seeing. With us, ‘seeing is believing”. Therefore, in order to increase people awareness about the potential of nanotechnology, visualization art is needed. Such pictures like these are as much important as nanotechnology research.

People are concerned that when nanotechnology is well developed, it might be detrimental to the environment. On the other hand, some claims that nanotechnologies can be used to not only monitor and prevent pollution, but to clean up pollutants once they have already made their way into the environment. We currently don’t have enough evidence to support either the bright side or the dark side of nanotechnology. However, we should keep in mind what Prof. Vesna presented on lecture. Pesticide DDT was effective in to combat mosquitoes spreading malaria but caused the decrease of eagle eggshell thickness. Refrigerants cause the depletion of ozone layer while global warming is due mainly by the anthropogenic greenhouse gases. Moreover, human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels also generate aerosols (tiny particles of solid or liquid suspended in a gas ranging in size from 0.1 to 100 micrometers in diameter). These aerosols are widely known as causes of asthma, lung cancer, cardiovascular issues, and premature death. In comparison, we can obviously see that nanobots have similar sizes with these aerosols. Moreover, there is also evidence that any particle smaller than 100 nanometres can pass through cell membranes which surrounds the cytoplasm of a cell and physically separates the intracellular components from the extracellular environment. The particle may migrate into the brain and can cause similar brain damage as that found in Alzheimer patients. Therefore, one should wonder what would happen if nanobots are malfunctioning. Or where would the by-product particles of nanotechnology in the process of development? They might get into the air (the smaller they are, the longer time it takes for them to settle to the ground), and there is a high probability that humans will inhale them. We don’t know what they could do to our bodies, so we also need regulation/guidelines about nanotechnology research.

With little doubt, nanotechnology will lower the cost of everything, provide nanobots to help us combat diseases, or build spaceships that are cheap and strong enough to satisfy our dream of venturing into space. Nevertheless, we should not get overexcited about nanotechnology and forget to proceed cautiously because we don’t know whether this new science might have any negative effect in our health and environment.


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Eddison Lai Week 9-Nanotechnology and its role in the future

Nanotechnology can be described as the science of controlling matter under a micrometer. Nano means 10^-9 but nanotechnology generally covers 1-100 nanometers. It is thought of to involve many different disciplines. We know that it includes, physics, chemistry, and engineering. Now that we know what it is, lets think about nanotechnology’s role in our futures.

We already see nanotechnology in tennis rackets, hair dryers strain resistant clothing and even suntan lotion. As you can see, nanotechnology is used in various aspects of life. Now, we can see applications in sports, fashion, and cosmetics. Another impact of life that we will see nanotechnology soon in is electronics. !!! Big companies like General Electric, IBM, and Motorola have been researching nanotech for a long time. Motorola for one claims that they have technology to make nano emisive display flat panels which have better quality than plasma at a cheaper cost. Sounds good to me. I’m sure there are many other products that will come out using nanotechnology. All you have to do is look for them.

All this sounds great but how is it done? Nanotechnology relies on the ability to use atomic force microscope and scanning tunneling microscope to manipulate nanostructures of molecules. In doing so, materials could become more efficient and lightweight. Their properties may be changed to fit manufacturer’s specific needs.

What I see in for our future is a world revolving around nanotechnology. It will become the penicillin of medicine in that nano medicine will be available. A surgeon would be able to restitch arteries more accurately using nanoshells that will outline the seam of two pieces of flesh. Doctors will be able to remove tumors more accurately by injecting nanoparticles into patients which glow under ultraviolet light.

Stepping aside from science, we can see nanotechnology in military applications. Like Professor James Gimzewski said in his lecture this week, the US military has poured millions of dollars into nanotech research. Their goals are to create lighter, stronger weapons and create lightweight bulletproof suits.

We have to realize that nanotechnology is not an industry. It is merely new technology that improves old methods. There are new creations but much of nanotechnology is improving technology that we already know and use today. The products will change for sure in our everyday lifestyles due to nanotechnology but there won’t be too many whole new products created because of nanotechnology.

military applications!!!


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John Milinovich - Week 9 - Thinkers Who Preceeded their Time

Often times, the scientific claims made by thinkers of the day seem ostensibly far fetched and unreasonable. Unfortunately, such is often the case with some of the greatest thinkers and their inventions when they come before their time. The best examples of this would clearly be Nikola Tesla and, to some extent, Buckminster Fuller.

Nikola Tesla has been credited as being the father of the 20th century - he has developed the products or the technology behind the products that people use every day and do not think twice about. Among these were Alternating Current electrical outlets and the field of electromagnetics. His ideas were not all as well-received as these were, however - many of his ideas and theories were written off as the babble of a mad scientist.

The best example of the "nutty professor" would have to be the idea of Tesla's 'peace ray,' which is basically a cannon which shoots millions of volts of electricity into a given victim. Needless to say, this idea was (and to some extent, still remains) ridiculous. I happen to know, however, that scientists have recently developed the technology to make such a device possible. I know this because the company is owned by my cousin.

The most difficult part of Tesla's vision to implement was undoubtedly the technology to amplify a normal electrical current to the magnitude necessary for Tesla's invention. Commonly referred to as the Tesla Coil, the only thing that kept his notion from becoming reality was the technology to amplify a normal current. Now that this technology exists, I am sure that all of the disbelievers have their metaphorical tails between their legs...

While not to the extreme that Tesla's ideas were received, Buckminster Fuller's outrageous and quite sci-fi architectural structures were too advanced for their time. Only now do we know that such structures as his geodesic dome are actually found at the most minute of levels - The atomic structure of many carbon molecules (aptly names Fullerines) pattern the structures that Fuller created decades before.

If anything can be taken from the ostracism received by Tesla and Fuller, it is just that sometimes people are ahead of their times. Ideas may seem far fetched today, but in the future they may come to become a stark reality.

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Nano Tech, Andrew Modlin, Section 2

Nano technology is by far to me the most interesting thing that we have learned about this year. I find it to be one of the most relevant issues and the potential it could have to change the world is fascinating. So much so that I have even spent the most time researching it and even intend to write about it for the final.

There doesn’t seem to be a lot of art made with the uses of nano technology but it does appear to an important topic in movies and television. One of the most fascinating things with nano technology that I have found would be its development into paint. This would seem to be one of the most practical benefits for artists. The possibility to maybe have a paint that would dry and become a LCD screen of some kind would revolutionize art, advertising, science, everything. The idea would be a paint that would have LCD crystals in it. Then you could just paint in on anything. Instead of buying a TV you would buy a can of paint and some wires. Paint it on the wall and there you go. This type of application of nano paint can bee seen best in James Bond Die Another Day.

In this movie, which is quite possibly one of the worst James bond movies ever, there is an amazing car. The Aston Martin V12 Vanquish has the ability to turn on adaptive camouflage. Now it’s never really explained how it works but basically, “tiny cameras on all sides project the image they see onto a light emitting polymer skin on the opposite side.” Most likely the polymer is a form of nano LCD crystals. This type of technology is obviously not on the market yet or probably anytime soon but it would be fascinating.

A lot of art with technology seems to be limited by cost. This technology would bring the price of TV screens down and make them more applicable to art. One could just use the paint on a sculpture and the sculpture would become more interactive and be able to change.

It has become really noticeable after taking this class how movies and TV shows take a scientific idea and extrapolate on it to make an idea more realistic. After researching buckminsterfullerene I found many examples of this in movies that I never new about before. The character Flubber was based on the buckminsterfullerene. To me it seems like there are endless possiblitys for Nano tehcnolgy that would be facinating to explore.

An artist that has really used the idea of science and art is Julian Voss-Andreae. This is a german born phyisist tunered artist. One of his more famous pieces is a giant buckminsterfullerene placed in the woods. This shows the corelation of this science to nature. By having it fully stuck between two large maple trees its almost like a brace that is holding them together. This corelates to the idea of the nano tubes that uses the same hexagon principles to create a tether.

This concpet is truly fascinating because it involves space. The nano tubes appear to be the stongest form of cable and would be the way the Space Elevator would work. For this idea a cable is tied between earth and space and a climber would clime the cable. This would be a lot more efficient then launching a rocket and would make moving things into space more common. This may just be a list of crazy things that can be acomplished with nano technology, but it appears that most of the applications of this technolgy are mostly in the learning stages so it will be interesting to see where this technology goes.

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Saturday, June 2, 2007

Derek Ganong - Nanotech: how we see it.

I think that nanotechnology is the way of the future but not in the traditional sense that science fiction writers would have use think. The idea of having small robots that work within the human body or collectively outside of it pretty absurd at the present moment. In Michael Crichtons book “Prey”, the nanotechnology particles are designed for mainly military applications and they are collectively intelligent. The resulting story is horrific and initially made me afraid of and position myself against nano-technology. Several years after reading the book and making up my mind on the matter, I re-examined the story and found that it was not a fair representation, or a feasible one, of nanotechnology. For starters, the nanobots in prey were all imbued with a type of strong artificial intelligence that allowed them to take control of themselves and completely cut themselves off from their creators. Not only is this type of artificial intelligence not possible with the present computational systems and execution languages, but the bots unanimously identify humans and all other animals as a threat and take hostile action against them. To add to this, the bots were capable of reproduction by using biological material. The problems with these circumstances are many. While it is clear that the artificial intelligence is not possible (and if it was we would have more control over it), the fact that the bots were hostile to biology is probably due to the nature of sci-fi thriller novels. With all this said, the biggest impact that prey had on me was that it married all of the said traits to nanotechnology and caused me to be afraid of it. When I hear the word “nanotechnology” I cringe. It has the same effect that words like “tuberculosis” and “plague” and “nuke” and “communist” and “british” had in their respective time-frames. And so like a nuclear power plant or modern day communist, nanotechnology is subject to developed stereotypes and expectations based on the exposure of the topic to the public by artists such as Crichton.
The kinds on nanotechnology that tend to get left out that people should know about include the microprocessing chips in computers who’s nano-scale architecture allow the tunneling of photons through barriers in order to create efficient calculation devices. Other nanotechnology applications in our present day include pharmaceuticals and prescription drugs as well as the desalinization of salt water and contact points of electron tunneling microscopes. As we can see, nanotechnology is already all around and greatly shapes the world we live in today. The types of nanotech that we will be seeing in the next several decades are not flying robots who consume biological organisms to reproduce, nor are they invasive devices that roam you blood vessels. Right now, they are mainly on the manufacturing scale. This is not to say that there will never be nano-robots with the capabilities described (only with more control over them than artists would have you think). Like in all new emerging technology, it is the job of the artists to expose the public to the ideas that constitute new radical methods that are a result of improved technology.
Our guest lecturer this week was Professor James Gimzewski of the department of chemistry and biochemistry. His lecture was very entertaining and his mannerisms reminded me of a character in a movie (but I wont reveal that character or movie in this blog). Gimzewski’s interests seemed to lie in the determination of how nature exhibited characteristics that are similar to nanotechnology, examining it, and trying to utilize nature to create artificial methods of efficient nanotechnology utilization. One of the examples that he gave use was a particular blue butterfly whose wings were actually grey but the structure or the wing altered the reflection of the lightwaves to make it appear blue. The surface of the wing had lots of nano-scale structure and the examination of this structure was Gimzewski’s main interest in the matter. Through some surfing, I came across the nanotechnology now website that contains information on practically every nanotechnology piece of new and the history of the field. It is worth checking out.


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