On display now in the D+M biennial exhibition, 1 + 1 = 22, at the Sol Koffler Gallery in Providence, RI through Feb 27.
This series of three panels explores our capacity to pursue and understand a human relationship with science. The scales and complexities of quantum mechanics, life, and the universe present the full range of challenges to comprehension and internalization. As the panels show, overwhelming complexity can be symbolize in extreme simplicity: human thought vs nature.
see Equation 6.32, 16x20 cut panel Jan.2022 - This curve represents the irradiance pattern of light passing through a double slit, revealing its wave-like nature. Strangely, this pattern appears for single photons and even single electrons hinting at the deep quantum mechanical complexity of matter and energy. Trying to make sense of quantum mechanics is a great example of how scale defines our most fundamental intuitions and expectations.
see Equation 4, 16x20 cut panel Jan.2022 - This cutout shows the habitable zone where liquid water could exist around different star types. All life as we know it needs liquid water in some capacity. We will most likely confirm we aren’t alone in the universe by searching in the region depicted here. Set between cosmology and quantum mechanics, understanding life has been so challenging to science that we take for granted that the classification of ‘non-scientific’ can even exist.
see Equation 29.131, 16x20 cut panel Jan.2022 - This curve shows the past and future expansion of the whole universe. Factoring in the play between matter and dark energy, we can model the overall expansion of space to first order using a relatively simple function. The ease of deriving, plotting, confirming, and predicting billions of years of history can disconnect us just as much as it connects us to reality.
Panels were laser cut and painstakingly painted for a smooth, matte finish. The human figures were printed in resin, painted, and attached to the panels. The panels were backed with a velvet fabric to absorb light to create a dark void where the panel was cut.
Bennett C.A. Principles of Physical Optics. Wiley 2008
Kopparapu R. et al. Habitable Zones Around Main-sequence Stars: Dependence on Planetary Mass. ApJL, 787:L29, 2014
Carroll B. & Ostlie D. An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics. 2nd ed. Pearson 2007