Arts & Science 2017 exhibition in Hamburg town hall

01 June, 2017

Scientific art from the Center for Ultrafast Imaging will be shown in an exhibit in the Hamburg City Hall (Rathaus), including multiple contributions from the CMI group.

View into a laser donut by Daniel Horke (CFEL-CMI)

From 1–15. June 2017 the cluster of excellence CUI presents images from the micro world in Hamburg’s City Hall. The exhibition is centered around the beauty of visualizations of scientific phenomena and structures researched by the Hamburg Centre for Ultrafast Imaging, flanked by photographs of experiments and labs. The exhibition is in the foyer of the central city hall, where many politicians, journalists, tourists and people from Hamburg are passing through every day. Each artwork is accompanied by a short description of the science depicted, written for a general audience.

In a voting process and evaluation by a professional artist, two scientific images from our group as well as two professional photographs of our experimental apparatuses were selected, which is a great recognition of the ongoing development work of new experiments and the generation not only of new knowledge, but also its transfer to the scientific communities as well as the general public. Hopefully, the exhibit will raise the awareness of scientific outreach in Hamburg and beyond and further strengthen the emotional and financial support of basic research by the public.

On the top left, an image of a hollow “vortex” laser beam with a dark “donut” hole in the center is shown. These beams are used as pipelines and funnels of light to transport single biomolecules into the focus of an x-ray laser, which creates photos of these molecules with atomic resolution.

Dancing Footballs (Ruth Livingstone, CFEL-CMI)

Is it Pop-Art, Aboriginal drawings or visualizations from psychedelic experiences? The exhibition “Arts & Science” reveals itself on closer inspection: It presents images from the micro world of scientific fundamental research at the cluster of excellence CUI – wavelike shapes and colour explosions, but also direct images recorded with electron microscopes. There is a lot of room for interpretation and it is up to the observers to just let the beauty of the images sink in or to learn about the physics and chemistry behind the images from the accompanying texts in English and German. For instance, on the right, an image shows how simulated x-ray-diffraction images of breathing Buckminster fullerene molecules are put into a mosaic-like picture. Buckminster fullerenes are tiny, atomic-scale copies of classical footballs that made of 60 carbon atoms; they are vibrating like a football being squeezed and stretched. The images shown are the result of calculations that were carried out to guide x-ray-diffractive imaging measurements of these ultra-fast breathing motions performed at the free-electron laser LCLS at SLAC in California, USA.

Photo of laser desorption setup by Peter Garten (CUI) and Nicole Teschmit (CFEL-CMI)

Photo into an experimental particle-imaging experiment at FLASH by Peter Garten (CUI) 

Alongside the arts exhibits there will be photos taken from the lab to give people an inside into what we do every day. Again this features two contributions from the CMI group: On the left, our new laser desorption source chamber, which is the crucial device of Nicole Teschmit's dissertation project. On the right, a view into the experimental chamber during a recent experimental campaign at the Free-Electron Laser FLASH in Hamburg, which was set up and opertated by Salah Awel, Nils Roth, Daniel Horke and collaborators, for instance, from the CMI and CFEL-CXI groups.

“We want to invite visitors to discover the artistic and aesthetic components of natural science,” Prof. Peter Schmelcher, member of the CUI board, says. “Arts & Science” shows poster-sized visualizations from scientific phenomena that are investigated within the CUI research, complemented by photos of the ultra-modern laboratories and light sources.

Location and opening times of the exhibition

Rathausdiele im Hamburg Rathaus, Rathausmarkt 1, 20095 Hamburg — free entry

  • Monday–Friday 7:00–21:00 h
  • Saturday 10:00–18:00 h
  • Sunday  10:00–17:00 h

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