DEPARTMENT OF CHEMISTRY
This four-piece sculpture represents the four lobes of the brain. Each lobe contains a peep hole that allows visitors to peer inside to see artistic representations of chemical processes that occur in the brain. For example, in one lobe, the viewer sees a structural abstraction of the chemical reactions that tyrosine undergoes to create diverse and biologically significant molecules. In another, the students used LED lights, a modeled neuron and infinity mirrors represent the communication between neurons and the transmission of an action potential down the neuron. Each lobe also features a small plaque with a one sentence description and a QR code linked to further details on the sculpture and then chemical process that is represented inside the lobe.
The skeleton of this sculpture represents the porphyrin of the cytochrome C enzyme. The ceramic reliefs housed within the structure show species from the different kingdoms of life to highlight the conservation of this enzyme across kingdoms. The sculpture also contains USB ports to charge small mobile devices, suggestive of the role of cytochrome C in the electron transport chain.
This kinetic sculpture is comprised of three individual pieces, each about 12 feet tall, that each rotates on its own axis. When the sculpture is viewed from the front and all three pieces are aligned, the sculpture appears to have the symmetry of the D4h space group. Space groups are a way to describe the symmetry of molecular structures and more information on this idea can be found on a website created by the 2017 CESTA participants, here.
The students in the 2016 program designed and constructed a large (12 ft x 8 ft!) steel sculpture titled 'Glukupikron' meaning "sweet-bitter". The structure is an abstraction of an imaginary molecule that combines glucose (sugar) and phenylthiocarbamide (a bitter tasting molecule). Through this piece, the students were playing with the idea that chemistry is life and life is bittersweet. The piece also featured an interactive augmented reality component in which visitors could direct a smart device (smart phone, ipad, etc) at the hole in the structure to receive chemistry fact, poetry, and prose that relates to the concept of bittersweet chemistry.