When Science Collides with Art
Not many scientific pre-occupations have garnered enough intrigue outside of its field.
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research) represents just that — wasteful from an economic standpoint and perhaps just plain excessive in the eyes of anyone the scientific community. Even scientists worldwide questioned the feasibility and necessity of its construction.
At 100m underground and 27km long, the LHC is considered the biggest scientific experiment ever made. But beyond its massive scale, the LHC is also big in terms of its ambition. By colliding molecules at the speed of light, the Collider hopes to observe the creation of new particles. All this, to explore fundamental questions about the universe — what we are made of and where we come from.
Lo and behold, just a mere few years into the experiment, the excitement and gravity surrounding the discovery of the Higgs Boson (aka the God particle) arguably signalled to the rest of the world — scientific community or not, the importance of what these scientists are doing at the CERN.
To put things in perspective, the discovery of the Higgs Boson essentially explains how we come into existence, whether it be an accident of nature or a divine phenomenon, the God particle pretty much gives us ‘mass’ for us to come into being.
Collider, the award-winning exhibition at the ArtScience Museum yearns to recreate the experience of being in the heart of the LHC. Upon stepping in, you encounter (through a video recording) the experimental physicists and engineers at the CERN office. Fan of the Big Bang Theory? The actual scientists talking to you onscreen are witty and engaging and may as well be Sheldon Cooper or Wolowitz come to life. Which is what the exhibition consistently takes into consideration by presenting the general public with abstract scientific theories but making them extremely approachable and relatable.
But even then, what about the meat of the exhibition, what about the the science of it all? You can’t be faulted for being befuddled. Most of the concepts we are presented with simply fly over our heads, but ArtScience Museum have included a mind-boggling art installation by artist Paolo Scoppola that visualises the God Particle in its abstract. As fascinating as it is visually mesmerising, Gift of Mass is a reminder of how closely linked Science is with Art. Both are, after all, a representation of the human endeavour.
Also: Check out Particle Fever (2014) for a deeper look into what goes on behind and beyond the cavernous experiment. Documented by former theoretical physician Mark Levinson, the film executes remarkable cinematography and astonishing visuals.
The exhibition will run from 14 November 2015 to 14 February 2016.
For more information on Collider, please visit www.marinabaysands.com/ArtScienceMuseum
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