Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Pretty little things

Nano Lite-Brite (LiveScience)

Most inventors see nanotubes as microscopic building blocks, but others are exploring their ability to glow under light. Researchers at Vanderbilt University have studied new crops of nanotubes that brilliantly fluoresce—a technology that could be useful in treating cancer and other medical conditions. More here

She Calls It ‘Phenomena.’ Everyone Else Calls It Art. (By Cornelia Dean, New York Times)

When people call Felice Frankel an artist, she winces.

In the first place, the photographs she makes don’t sell. She knows this, she says, because after she received a Guggenheim grant in 1995, she started taking her work to galleries. “Nobody wanted to bother looking,” she said.

In the second place, her images are not full of emotion or ideology or any other kind of message. As she says, “My stuff is about phenomena.”

Phenomena like magnetism or the behavior of water molecules or how colonies of bacteria grow — phenomena of nature. “So I don’t call it art,” Ms. Frankel said. “When it’s art, it’s more about the creator, not necessarily the concept in the image.”

As first an artist in residence and now a research scientist at M.I.T., and now also a senior research fellow at the Institute for Innovative Computing at Harvard, she helps researchers use cameras, microscopes and other tools to display the beauty of science. More here

Salad Dressing-Like Mix Restores Art (Discovery Channel

A salad dressing-like mixture of water, a bit of oil and a sugar-like molecule can safely clean ancient frescoes, according to a new nanotechnology research.

Scientists at the University of Florence, Italy, have discovered that the oil-in-water microemulsion — basically tiny droplets of oil suspended in water — can penetrate a painting’s pores and scrub away grime and acrylic resins.

The potion has proven particularly effective in cleaning frescoes that had been coated in thick layers of paraloid, an acrylic copolymer widely used by conservators in the 1960s. More here

Time for a little art
A little splash of color

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