Small Matters nanoart exhibition delights Nelson

Nelson Science Society

Members of the Nelson Science Society at the exhibition opening

SMALL MATTERS – ART FROM THE WORLD OF NANOTECHNOLOGY Nelson Provincial Museum 9 February to 8 March 2015 Nelsonians had the opportunity to see an astonishing range of novel images from the world of nanotechnology at the Nelson Provincial Museum, in an exhibition mounted by the Institute in association with the AMN7 Conference. In a city famous for its artists, and as the home of the great Lord Rutherford, this combination of art and science seemed particularly apt. Son of the late Nelson artist, Toss Woollaston – Philip Woollaston, who has a degree in Physics and went on to become MP for Nelson, Minister of Conservation and Local Government, and then Mayor of Nelson – helped judge the winning entries, together with Nigel Costley, President of the Nelson Science Society, and CEO of the Museum, Peter Millward, who has a Masters Degree in Chemistry. They chose the following entries: First: Micro Lamb Rack Andrew Chan – School of Chemical Sciences, the University of Auckland

78 Chan - Micro Chan Lamb Rack

This image resembles a rib cage but is actually the intricate vein system of the Green Bottle Fly (Lucillia sericata). Insect vascular systems may serve as blueprints for the design of bio-inspired microfluidic systems for lab-on-a-chip devices. Image area: 10 µm x 7.5 μm

   Second: Multi-layer Film Rayomand Shahlori – The University of Auckland 

Rayomand Shahlori

The image shows thin films of calcium phosphate grown from a protein interleaved with another material called ι-Carrageenan, The multi-layer film is an organic-inorganic hybrid material. Such composites are abundant in nature and serve functions that cannot be achieved by inorganic crystals or organic matter alone. Image area: 60 µm x 100 μm

  Third: A Starry Night of Liquid Crystals Graham Fairweather – Victoria University of Wellington

Starry Night

Vincent van Gough painted The Starry Night in 1889 depicting the view from his asylum room. I obtained this image several years into a PhD and after long days in a dark room chained to an electron microscope searching for the perfect image. Scale: 47 µm x 37 µm

  The images intrigued members of the Nelson Science Society, who attended a special opening event on 9 February. Their unusual textures and geometries reveal other aesthetic dimensions. Nature on the nano-scale is fundamentally beautiful, it seems. To benefit the Nelson community, it was decided to auction the images and donate proceeds to the Brook Waimarama pest proof fence project. The Brook Waimarama Sanctuary is just 5kms from Nelson, and will hopefully replicate the success of Wellington’s Zealandia in bringing native birds back to the city. Over $2000 was raised at the auction. This is the third such exhibition the Institute has organised in connection with its biennial international conference. It has been the inspiration and painstaking work of Principal Investigator Professor Simon Brown, from the University of Canterbury. The first exhibition was part of a Nanotechnology festival held in Christchurch. Sadly, the exhibition was interrupted by the September 2010 earthquake. The Festival was postponed until February the following year and had only just finished when the devastating February 22nd earthquake occurred. Just prior to the Festival, the unlucky exhibition was re-exhibited to great acclaim at the Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington, as part of the AMN5 Conference.

Small Matters Exhibition, Nelson Provincial Museum - Feb 2015

Small Matters Exhibition, Nelson Provincial Museum – Feb 2015

Further reading: Science meets art in nanophotography, a feature in The Dominion Post