Category Archives: painting

On Art from Science

Copyright © 2005 Hunter O’Reilly

Hunter O’Reilly obtained a Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and graduated cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley. Her abstractions have been shown internationally including galleries in New York, San Francisco, England, Italy, Japan, the Czech Republic, Indiana and Wisconsin.”

“Observations in the laboratory and the world around her inspire the shapes in her abstract oil paintings. Hunter’s abstract art hints at both organic matter at the highest level (human faces) and at the smallest level (single cells). This section includes many images of artwork.”

“O’Reilly teaches biology and art at Loyola University Chicago. She created a course, Biology Through Art, where students have the opportunity to create innovative artworks in a biology laboratory. Students view microorganisms, use DNA as an artistic medium, create music based on DNA sequence and see anatomy as art. The course culminates in students creating their own biological self-portrait.”

More images here.

On Science from Art

from Ref. 1

With the exception of certain information which can be obtained from glacial core sampling, climate data goes back only so far. This makes the task of determining the impact of human intervention on the environment quite difficult, since our effects ride on top of natural variations which would be revealed by pre-human climate data.

An ingenious method for estimating one aspect of climatological variations (specifically aerosol density) by observing the effect of volcanic eruptions on sunsets has been developed by a team of atmospheric scientist. In a lovely example of art informing science, they correlated historical reports with paintings of sunsets from the same periods (sunsets being particularly effected by volcanic eruptions) to accurately estimate atmospheric aerosol density outside of the period for which human instrumentation data is available.

1. Zerefos, CS, Gerogiannis, VT, Balis, D, Zerefos, SC & Kazantzidis, A. (2007) Atmospheric effects of volcanic eruptions as seen by famous artists and depicted in their paintings. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 7, 4027–4042