Dusty Plasma Photograph
Gets Art Prize
Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL)'s
Elle Starkman and Andrew Post-Zwicker won the first-place prize for their
photographic submission, "Dusty
Table," in the "Art of Science" Competition at Princeton
University on Tuesday, 3rd May 2005. More than 200 submissions were received.
The competition strove to combine aesthetic excellence with scientific
or technical interest. Elle's and Andrew's joint artwork is on display
at the Friend's Center for Engineering Education, along with the rest
of the top 50.
Audience were observing the winning
pieces of scientific artwork in the Art of Science Competition on display
in the Friend Center.
Elle Starkman and Andrew Post-Zwicker
Second place was awarded to Anton Darhuber,
a research staff member in the electrical engineering department, and
third place to Stephen Pratt, a research staff member in the ecology and
evolutionary biology department. The original pool consisted of 200 works
submitted from 15 departments.
Visual arts professor Andrew Moore and Kati Lovasz of
comparative literature, who helped organize the competition, said the
exhibit highlighted something art and science share. "Images are
such a common language," Moore said. "It's
so rich and so diverse." Lovasz said she was pleased with the interest
in the exhibition.
"When people were arriving, they would go to the pictures first
and then go the food," she said. "That's unusual."
The photograph was described by the some of the audiences
as "looked like dust bunnies stirring on the surface of a table-like
stainless steel structure. A downward-pointing triangle of particles floats
above. All are bathed in a bright red glow." Afterwards, Post
Zwicker explained that the glow in the photograph is due to the illumination
of the bright laser. He also added that the plasma that is partially responsible
for charging the dust is invisible in the background of the photograph,
but it would glow a faint blue if the laser were not present.
"Dust Table" by Elle
Starkman and Andrew Post-Zwicker - A dust cloud of silicon
microspheres suspended in a plasma was illuminated by laser light. The
dust cloud is approximately 0.5 inches high and floats in a conical
shape between the dust tray and an electrode. Fundamental dust cloud
properties and dynamics have applications from plasma processing to
Darhuber's second-place image, "Driven," shows
patterns formed by a surface-active substance spreading over a thin liquid
film on a silicon wafer. His study of hydrodynamic instabilities not only
applies to the mechanism of the lung, but also exhibits a swirl of different
shades of blue against a dark background.
"Driven" by Anton Darhuber -
illustrates evolving dynamical patterns formed during the spreading
of a surface-active substance (surfactant) over a thin liquid film
on a silicon wafer.
Other projects ranged from a photograph of spider genitalia
to a telescopic image of the Horsehead Nebula. Clay Bavor '05 and Jesse
Levinson '05, both computer science majors, created a composite image
of the average Princeton student.
Moore noted that a large percentage of the entries came
from women. "It
kind of shatters the myth that there aren't women in the sciences," he
said. Dean of Engineering and Applied Science Maria Klawe was pleased
with the exhibit.