Durham University explains the origins of the Universe with art exhibition
(4 December 2006)
Durham University is striving to unveil the secrets of the Universe with the help of 20 artists from the East Durham Artists Network (EDAN).
This week, the University’s Physics Department opened an exhibition with a distinct science theme in its Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics. In a collaborative project with Durham University, artists from EDAN have produced a range of two and three-dimensional artworks based on their interpretation of the secrets of the Universe. One piece is inspired by Cosmology’s biggest mystery, what is dark matter? Where as Stephen Sproates’ ‘The Contours of Curved Spacetime’ depicts Einstein’s view of how gravity works. Explaining how it all began, Angela Sandwith from EDAN said: “We were looking for a new exhibition space. Stephen Sproates had just finished his MA show in the Ogden Centre and recommended it to the rest of the group. “We were amazed by the building and the work that goes on in the department, it really inspired us.” The work by the EDAN artists contributes to the University’s science outreach programme which aims to open up science to particularly young people. Through a series of activities and events, now also including art, it hopes to stimulate interest in science and encourage better understanding of the application of science to our everyday lives. Dr Pete Edwards, Science and Society Officer at the University said: ”I think the work that EDAN has produced is fantastic. What I’ve found most interesting is the reaction it has caused. It’s had a huge impact on the department, causing a lot of animated discussion. It’s very thought provoking. “By putting on the exhibition, we have opened the doors of the university to the public and, I hope, stimulated people to open their eyes to science. In general, the public have a very stereotypical view of what scientists do, but in fact we’re just ordinary people doing a job.” Angela added: “In the past science brought the blinds down with me. But by doing this work it has broken down my misconceptions and the barrier is being chipped away. “I hope the community will get the same out of it as we did. Science has opened up a new world and has changed my whole practice.” Bruce Burn from EDAN added: “This has been a very challenging experience for ourselves. It has pushed us in all sorts of directions and has been a very enriching experience for our art. “In the near future we will be bringing in children from local schools to see the art and we hope that it will encourage them to become artists or indeed scientists. “The exhibition is our initial response to particle physics and cosmology. We see this as a starting point and hope to develop our relationship with the Physics Department and put on more exhibitions.” The exhibition is free to the public and open from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday in The Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics, South Road, Durham. It is open until February 16th.