CPLAS Transcends the Invisible on the International Day of Light

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The CPLAS Team participated in “Transcending the Invisible,” an event held at King’s College London on May 17th to celebrate the International Day of Light and showcase a broader public engagement project.

Funded by the Royal Society Public Engagement Fund, “Transcending the Invisible” is a groundbreaking initiative aimed at illuminating the multifaceted nature of light through the collaborative efforts of artists and scientists. The audience enjoyed a series of talks followed by an exhibition featuring artists from the project and scientific demonstrations.

CPLAS Co-Investigator Dr. Sasha Rakovich leads “Transcending the Invisible,” which began in November 2023 and features 18 months of intensive collaboration. Artists and scientists engage in ‘In Focus sessions’ to share their practices and research. During this period, participants, including CPLAS Research Associates, will organically pair up with collaborators who share a creative and intellectual affinity. These collaborations aim to open up new dialogues, explore novel ideas, and create original work that will be showcased at the end of the project.

Rakovich kicked off the event with a talk, providing a comprehensive introduction to light and nanomaterials. She emphasized the distinction between light as a physical phenomenon and color as a perceptual experience. Rakovich explained how light interacts with materials through transmission, reflection, refraction, diffraction, absorption, and scattering, using vivid examples such as the iridescent wings of butterflies and the color-changing skin of chameleons. Her talk also highlighted the applications of nanomaterials in sensing, nanomedicine, and chemical generation or breakdown, explaining how these processes are used by researchers working on the CPLAS program grant.

Other talks included:

  • Grace Pappas discussed translating scientific concepts into art, showcasing works like Material Memories and IN ORBIT.
  • Yukako Tanaka presented her projects merging art, science, and philosophy, including Memory of Ghost and Close Encounters of the Existence.
  • Tyler Mallison explored the interplay of light, perception, and painting, offering innovative perspectives.
  • Vittorio Aita explained laser physics and their applications, including optical communications and 3D cinema.
  • Lily Hassioti demonstrated her installation Mixed Signals, converting light into sound.
  • James Fox shared his experiments with light, creating immersive visual experiences.
  • David Penny discussed light in photography, focusing on cameraless techniques to capture light interactions.

The session concluded with an exhibition highlighting the synergy between art and science and the profound impact of light on both disciplines.

CPLAS is proud to have our researchers involved in “Transcending the Invisible.” It exemplifies the integration of art and science, aiming to inspire and deepen our understanding of light through innovative public exhibits and research.