Week 4 - Magnet, Fusion, and Connecting the Dots


On Tuesday, we had a lecture on magnetism by Dr. Walter Gekelman– an expert in astro physics. Dr. Gekelman began the lecture with an overview of Maxwell's equations, which are a set of mathematical equations that describe the nature of electricity and magnetism. He emphasized the interactions between electric and magnetic fields and how they influence each other.


The professor then discussed vectors, physical quantities that have both magnitude and direction. Examples of vectors include wind, force, electric currents, and magnetic fields. He explained the concepts of electric and magnetic dipoles, which describe the separation of positive and negative electric charges and the orientation of magnetic poles, respectively. He also spoke about the formation of auroras, which are created by the interaction of Earth's magnetic field with high-energy particles from the sun.

The lecture then covered the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The NIF is the world's largest laser system and is used to study fusion energy, astrophysics, and the inner workings of nuclear weapons. The machine is called ITER, with the primary objective of investigating and demonstrating burning plasmas, where the energy of the helium nuclei produced by fusion reactions is enough to maintain the plasma's temperature. ITER will also test the availability and integration of technologies essential for a fusion reactor, such as superconducting magnets, remote maintenance, and systems to exhaust power from the plasma. It was mind-blowing to hear that this technology could potentially provide unlimited energy to humanity.

In addition to the theoretical aspects of magnetism, we were given the opportunity to see various types of magnets, such as magnetic dust and ferrofluid. Ferrofluid is a liquid that is attracted to the poles of a magnet and is a colloidal liquid made of nanoscale ferromagnetic or ferrimagnetic particles suspended in a carrier fluid, usually an organic solvent or water. It was interesting to see the substance change shape and movement in response to the movements of the magnet underneath it. During his explanation, the professor introduced us to a Japanese artist who uses ferrofluid to make abstract sculptures and how the shape changes due to changes in the magnetic field.

Overall, the lecture was a fascinating exploration of the science of magnetism and its various applications. I learned about the mathematical equations that describe electricity and magnetism, the concept of vectors, the formation of auroras, and the work being done at the National Ignition Facility. I was also inspired by the creative applications of magnetism in art and design, and I came away with a deeper appreciation for the role of science and technology in the world of art.


On Thursday, we participated in a class activity where we created a concept map to illustrate the connections between all the topics we had learned and reviewed. Our teacher, Professor Vesna, posed a question about how designers interact with the world through visual influence and the potential for collaboration to create fantastic projects. She emphasized that the collaboration between art and science should not be limited to artists visualizing scientific ideas or vice versa, but instead should be based on communication and inspiration, where each side inspires and questions the other's ideas in new ways.

During the class discussion, I was particularly interested in exploring the relationship between art and humanity and how technology influences it. I shared my idea of creating an art installation called "Emotion-Triggered Kinetic Sound Sculpture," which aims to bridge the gap between audience and artwork and create a more personalized and immersive art experience. The installation will be a large-scale, interactive sound installation that captivates and engages audiences with its advanced technology, elegant design, and personalization. It will respond to both touch and emotions of people nearby using cutting-edge facial recognition technology and AI algorithms along with sensors and speakers. The focus of the artwork will be on the interaction between the artwork and the audience, utilizing technology that has never been used before in an art installation.