Cambridge University – The First Cavendish Laboratory Art Exhibition





SciArt in Cambridge’s first SciArt Exhibition at the prestigious Cavendish Laboratory took place from the 19th – 24th March 2018 as part of the Cambridge Science Festival 2018.

I presented a pendulum (pictured) and a photopolymer etching of static electricity.

Artists inspired and informed by Science, working in all media, submitted work with some relationship to Physics or its language – Mathematics – and therefore tie in with the theme of Cambridge Science Festival 2018 “Making Sense of the World”.

There was a diverse array of work on show: paintings, films, photography, sculpture, installation, kinetic and wearables. The show was held in various spaces in the Cavendish Laboratory and showcased artworks produced by members of the SciArt in Cambridge Community as well as internationally.

The the private view took place on Tuesday 20th March followed by an evening of artists’ talks in the Pippard Lecture Theatre.

Curving charged particle tracks, fluid dynamics etc.

I have been able to change the direction of the flow of particles using a magnet to ‘curve’ them. I’ve been thinking about the work of Céleste Boursier-Mougenot and Linda Sanchez.

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot

Boursier-Mougenot’s work was presented at the Abbatoirs in 2014 in an exhibition called ‘Disturbances’. The exhibition focussed on that which is immaterial, in particular information and data flow. I was interested in Celeste Boursier-Mougenot’s piece that audibly and visually represented cosmic radiation.  When these rays were detected, a cascade of water was triggered that fell onto an acoustic drum. The imperceptible was made tangible, and the audio, visuals and subatomic world were melded into something singular and elegant. This is the sort of thing I’d want to produce for my postgraduate degree show.


My documentation of the curvature of particle tracks in a Wilson chamber using a magnet, today.

How to make this into an art piece?

At the moment I’m documenting experiments, but need to make sure the visual choices made make sense in an art context.

Is there a way of lighting the experiment with UV?

I have an idea to trace the movement of particles while photographing the screen… I might do this tomorrow…

My brief chaotic pendulum animation with sounds


Above: an exchange on Twitter, Kepes, CERN



ALCOHOL WORKS BEST. Rubbing alcohol is ineffective, as is methylated spirit. I was surprised at the inefficacy of methylated spirit as it was recommended in the Griffin and George laboratory equipment manual.  

FLUID DYNAMICS -STARRY NIGHT.  Hair curvature, Da Vinci. 




Blade Runner

Linda Sanchez

Linda Sanchez’s piece ‘Chronographie: A Teardrop Dress‘ (pictured below) is spread over 8 meters against a wall. The fine black lines in the work appear like contour lines in cartography, perhaps particularly an ordinance survey map. Sanchez explores the properties of materials. This work investigates the processes behind particle movement, in particular the movement of drops of water, the result becoming simultaneously poetic and scientific. Sanchez  observed droplets of water moving down large slides that she built over a long period of time. The video that opens her exhibition invites the audience to contemplate minute movements of water – the reflection of natural light on it’s surface, the way it rolls and accelerates when it swallows other drops, or being held back in it’s ‘race’, it’s behaviour when meeting an insect and the way it consumes dust … quite fascinating. Then the artist was interested in the traces left (like snail mucous left by a trail)… by the water when it withdrew from a space. She drew the frames of ‘water memory’ one at a time, creating graceful monochrome strips.

I’m hoping to track the movement of some of my pieces to evoke this sort of elegance. I’m already quite pleased with the subtlety of the wispy curves.

Chronographie: A Teardrop Dress




Science Related Poetry, 1

‘On Documentation’



Various species of common matter that exist,

Whose nature and properties are the same,

However different in appearance they may be;

Between the capacity of a lump of clay

And of a piece of flint;

Between the flexibility of lead and of iron;

Between the elasticity of steel and of whalebone;

And between the expansibility of gases in general

A proposition, such as this, may be solved with as much certainty

By a child of five years of age,

As much by a man who has lived to the years of Methuselah:

A child will, at once, affirm that strokes or impressions made on him by a rod,

Give him pain; that a rose is fragrant; that gold is yellow; silver; white; jet, black, sugar,

Sweet, vinegar, sour, fire, hot, snow, cold.


We see coloured light perpetually radiating

From bodies in a state of combustion

The quality of the colour seems altogether to depend on the nature

Of the materials of which the base is composed;

Subservient to that process ; different kinds of

Coal and of peat, will produce a peculiarity

In the colour of the flame