Week nine started with the food studies and fermentation presentations. My class peers brought their food study dishes ready to share with the rest of the class. My favorite was Louis’ mint and pineapple kombucha. It was surprisingly bittersweet, a taste that crept up slowly and lingered in the back of my throat. It was quite a refreshing and delightful treat.
On Tuesday, week 8, we visited the UCLA Planetarium (completed in 1957) and got to see and learn about their telescopes and star projector. The UCLA Planetarium offers an intimate seating experience for visitors to learn about the universe. The facility hosts free shows, intro astronomy classes, and presentations by astronomy grad students. The star projector is the main star of the planetarium because it’s used to create the night sky inside the dome. The current projector, a Viewlex Mark IIA (also known as the Goto GX–10), cost about $35,000 and was installed in 1973.
On Tuesday, week 7, my group members and I decided to focus on individual project tasks. I worked on creating our protection mapping dress with digital materials/textures using microscopic images I took with my iPhone 14 Pro macro mode camera. I took pictures of myself, Bela, Maxine, and my sister. They’re all skin photos from various facial and body parts. The images feature macro facial hair shafts with moles, blackheads, whiteheads, scars, bellybutton hairs, bruises, dry dead skin, and stretch marks.
On Tuesday, Week 6, everyone gave a presentation about their projects. We were the second group to present and received great feedback from Iman Person. Prof. Gimzewski was obsessing over time; even after giving a ten-minute presentation, he made us stand in front of the classroom for an additional three minutes, saying, “you still have three minutes, stand there until someone has a question.” We were asked one question in those three minutes and then stood there in silence. Prof.
On Tuesday, Maryam Razi came to class and shared a presentation about Saffron and talked about her graphic design process for the Hox Zodiac game she created with Prof. Vesna. Maryam designed the game’s typeface to resemble bones, which I thought was a great way to embody the animals through design. I also found the saffron harvesting process poetic and fascinating because it requires tremendous patience and care. Growing and distributing saffron authentically requires an immense amount of delicate work that many aren’t able to do.
We met with Dr. Walter Gekelman on Tuesday, Jan. 31st, but this time he came to our classroom and gave a lecture about the Earth’s magnetic field. It was an expanded lecture on how his LAPD machine creates magnetic fields. Dr. Gekelman’s experimental LAPD machine creates an axial magnetic field with 90 solenoidal magnet coils. Below is an example from LAPD’s experiment on magnetic field line reconnection, which happens when two magnetic flux ropes collide.
Week three began with a celebration honoring the year of the rabbit. I joined prof. Vesna and her friends and colleagues on Sunday, January 22nd, via zoom to celebrate the new year virtually. I enjoyed learning about human and animal species' relationships, experiences, perspectives, and shared stories. It was lovely listening and learning from the participants' presentations, who made their own cultural dishes at home and shared their brief dish histories and stories.
Week 2 was all about bread, wheat, rice, corn, nanomechanics, microscopy, and more visits to The California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA. We started the week by breaking bread in class together. I brought a small sourdough loaf from whole foods, but the table ranged from buttery croissants to pan au chocolate, french baguette, whole wheat, rye, and more sourdough.
In the first week, we explored the differences between graphite and graphene and their hexagonal nanostructure. We learned about the various objects/tools, technologies, and ecosystems that resemble the hexagon shape and how Bucky Fuller's geodesic dome visually represents graphite's 3D form. We watched a short film about the composition of pencils- the necessary materials used to create them (cedar wood, water, clay, and graphite) and the overall production process.