University of Delaware
This creature, a kind of microscopic phytoplankton called a diatom, was captured by Gerald Poirier using the Quanta 200f Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope, which allows us to see nanostructures in their native state with extraordinary three-dimensional clarity. ESEM images are originally black and white. But colors can be added subsequently (such as the green and orange in this image) by assigning a given color to a specific gray scale. The creature we see in this image is about 15 microns wide.

UD joins Leonardo

International society offers new avenue for building interdisciplinary connections


10:40 a.m., June 13, 2014--The University of Delaware is now an affiliate member of Leonardo/The International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology. 

Inspired by the late Frank Malina, co-founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and an active participant in rocket science development during World War II, Leonardo serves a virtual community of artists, scientists, researchers and thinkers from top universities and nonprofit museums and research centers around the world through its programs focusing on interdisciplinary work, creative output and innovation. 

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UD Deputy Provost Nancy Brickhouse said the University’s participation in Leonardo is an outgrowth of the first “Art and Science: Connections and Intersections” symposium held this past April in the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Laboratory (ISE Lab). The public event, to be held annually, was organized by Lawrence Nees, professor and chair of the Department of Art History, and John Jungck, professor and director of the DuPont Science Learning Laboratories in ISE Lab. 

“To address 21st-century challenges, University faculty increasingly are working where disciplines intersect,” Brickhouse said. “Leonardo offers a new avenue for networking and sharing research, best practices and events in art, science and technology, building interdisciplinary connections.” 

Jungck, who works with a team of math, biology and art students and faculty on the scientific visualization of radiolaria (amoeba that “live in glass houses”) has served as a reviewer for the society’s longstanding Leonardo Journal, which is published by MIT Press. The society also publishes the Leonardo Book Series and Leonardo Music Journal (LMJ).

Gerald Poirier, who joined UD six months ago as manager of the Advanced Materials Characterization Laboratory in ISE Lab, said Leonardo motivated him to help support and grow “Art of Science,” an annual exhibition at Princeton, where he previously worked. He’s thinking about organizing a similar event at UD. 

“It merges the mathematics of visually imaging things to the aesthetics of art,” Poirier said of the event, which began in 2005 and continues today. “It fosters this conversation that normally wouldn’t be held and is a neat way to involve undergraduate and graduate students from different fields.” 

The UD community may participate, at no cost, in these Leonardo programs: 

  • The Leonardo-isast e-newsletter, which includes announcements of upcoming activities.
  • The Leonardo Abstracts Service (LABS), a comprehensive collection of Ph.D., master’s and master of fine arts thesis abstracts on topics in the emerging intersection between art, science and technology. The next biannual submission deadline is June 30. 

Other opportunities, available exclusively to affiliate members, will be announced throughout the year. 

Article by Tracey Bryant

Photo by Gerald Poirier

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