Special Topics in Design | Media Arts: Biotechnology and Design

Bio-designers use cells, DNA molecules, proteins, and living tissues to highlight ethical, social, and aesthetic issues that influence contemporary life. Introduction to how bio-design blurs distinctions between science and design through combination of design and scientific processes, creating wide public debate. Introduction to new sciences that influence food we eat, clothes we wear, and environment in which we reside. Students challenged to think outside the box, explore divergent and convergent thinking, and seek out knowledge and inspiration from ideas that drive nano- and bio-technology. Peer collaboration encouraged to develop speculative design projects that address issues covered.
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Please contact Prof. Victoria Vesna if you are interested in joining this class.


Week 4: Magnetic Fields, Ferrofluids, & Mind/Concept Mapping

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 4

On Tuesday, Dr. Walter Gekelman gave us a very in-depth lecture on magnetism, which is the motion of electric charge between two magnets when they attract or repel one another. He began speaking about Maxwell’s equations, which is basically a set of four equations that explains the nature of electricity and magnetism.

Week 4 (1/31 & 2/2): Magnetism, Concept Maps, and Comets

On Tuesday, January 31st, Dr. Walter Gekelman, who gave us a tour of the large plasma device, came into class to discuss the nature of magnetism. He started off by explaining different equations used to determine the forces of magnetism and how they affect everything. Admittedly, he lost the entire class while explaining the concepts behind the equations, but started defining some more key concepts. 


On Thursday, we started off class with everyone gathering around and recalling everything we have learned so far into the quarter. It was extremely refreshing to have a mind-mapping activity in class together. In all honesty, I’ve been a little confused about all the different topics we have covered so far in class. Every subject matter was incredibly interesting on its own, so seeing everything interconnected was almost like a light-bulb moment for me.


On Tuesday, we visited the botanical garden as a class and rang in the new year with a shot kombucha and a variety of traditional snacks. I was pleasantly surprised to learn more about kombucha, as I’ve acquired to the taste quite recently. I never understood the appeal of kombucha due to it’s sour and fermented taste, but after knowing about it’s health benefits and probiotics, I was able to enjoy the beverage.

Week 4: Magnets, Ferrofluids, and Final Project Ideas

We began the week with a guest lecture from Dr. Walter Gekelman, who gave us an overview of plasma and magnetism. At some point, he brought in ferrofluids, a jet-black substance that is quite mesmerizing when it is drawn to a magnet. When the magnet gets close to the ferrofluids, it creates a liquid spike that reveals the magnetic field lines around the magnet. 


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