Month: March 2012

OpenLab Kepler Explorer App Now Available at iTunes

Kepler Explorer

By OpenLab

Kepler Explorer{ Available for Free at  iTunes}

Kepler Explorer is an exciting new application for the iPad and iPhone, allowing anyone to gain a better understanding of the faraway planetary systems found by NASA’s Kepler Mission.

This application was a collaboration of the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, The Digital Arts and New Media Program, OpenLab Research, game developer John Peters, and astrophysicist Jonathan Fortney.


iPhone Screenshot 1
iPhone Screenshot 2
iPhone Screenshot 3
– Explore an ever-expanding list of
thousands of far-away planetary systems- Discover the potential compositions of
planets using the same formulas used by
astrophysicists, presented in a way
anyone can use!- Compare and contrast these far-away
systems with our own solar system!- View the relative scales of each planet
to its parent star.- Speed up and slow down the rate of time
and pinch to zoom in and out while
interacting with the orbits of each
This app is designed for both iPhone and iPad
  • Free
  • Category: Education
  • Released: Mar 27, 2012
  • Version: 1.0
  • Size: 5.0 MB
  • Language: English
  • Seller: Jennifer Parker
  • © OpenLab

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.Requires iOS 3.0 or later

Moon Goose Analogue: Lunar Migration Bird Facility, Agnes Meyer-Brandis

Moon Geese in the goose control room, Moon Goose AnalogueAgnes Meyer-Brandis, Moon Goose Analogue room installation view at FACT, photo Agnes Meyer-Brandis
The Moon Goose Colony

A film in 19 installments by Agnes Meyer-Brandis tells the story of the artist’s project to raise and imprint her colony of Moon Geese and train them for life on the Moon.  The chapters will be available for just a week each so catch them here and join The Arts Catalyst on FaceBook or Twitter to be sure to catch each new chapter as it is released.

Agnes Meyer-Brandis’s poetic-scientific investigations weave fact, imagination, storytelling and myth, past, present and future. In Moon Goose Analogue: Lunar Migration Bird Facility, a major commission, the artist develops an ongoing narrative based on the book The Man in the Moone, written by the English bishop Francis Godwin in 1603, in which the protagonist flies to the Moon in a chariot towed by ‘moon geese’. Meyer-Brandis has actualised this concept by raising eleven moon geese from birth within her project Moon Goose Colony at Pollinaria in Italy; giving them astronauts’ names*, imprinting them on herself as goose-mother, training them to fly and taking them on expeditions and housing them in a remote Moon analogue habitat. (* Neil, Svetlana, Gonzales, Valentina, Friede, Juri, Buzz, Kaguya-Anousheh, Irena, Rakesh, Konstantin-Hermann)

The remote analogue habitat simulates the conditions of the Moon and will be accessed and operated from Meyer-Brandis’s control room installation within the gallery, where instructional videos, photographs and vitrines of the geese’s egg shells and footprints will be displayed.

Meyer-Brandis develops the contested history of Godwin’s original fiction – posthumously and pseudonymously published as if the genuine account of the travels of Domingo Gonsales.  She weaves a narrative that explores the observer’s understanding of the fictitious and the factual, with a nod to notions of the believably absurd.

Oxford academic, William Poole [1], in his Preface to the 2009 edition of The Man in the Moone [2], explains the importance of Godwin’s work, “First, it is a work of literary sophistication.  It is narrated by a slightly implausible figure who does a number of very implausible things, not least fly to the moon and back.…its supposed time-frame further heightens readerly problems about who and what to trust in this text, and why… its finely integrated discussion of various state-of-the-art ideas about astronomy and cosmology – magnetic attraction, diurnal rotation, and the possibility of interplanetary travel and extraterrestrial life.  The dramatisation of these discussions in The Man in the Moone is at once a form of popular science and also a form of popular fiction.  This is the age-old problem of fiction – the probable impossible intermingled with the possible improbable.”

Moon Goose Analogue: Lunar Migration Bird Facility, 2011 links directly to Meyer-Brandis’s, Moon Goose Colony, 2011, a project during her residency at Pollinaria, Italy, the site of the remote analogue habitat where the artist has raised and houses the colony of moon geese.

1 William Poole is John Galsworthy Fellow, New College, Oxford, and author of The World Makers: Scientists of the Restoration and the Search for the Origins of the Earth (2010).
2 The Man in the Moone
(1638) (Broadview Editions) by Francis Godwin and William Poole (Paperback – 1 Nov 2009), preface

Reviews and blogs about the show

The Rhizome

Art Monthly (February 2012) review 

Liverpool Daily Post, Moon Goose Analogye interview 

BBC World Service – The Strand, Agnes Meyer-Brandis interview

Criticismism Moon Goose Analogue


Commissioned with FACT and first shows in Republic of the Moon, Dec 2011-Feb 2012 at FACT, Liverpool

Presented with AV Festival, Newcastle-Gateshead, 2012

Pollinaria, Italy

Supported by

Arts Council England Grants for the Arts

Artist’s website

Agnes Meyer-Brandis

The following chapters will be released over the next few weeks in advance of and during the exhibition

chapter 01 – Intro
chapter 02 – The Astronauts
chapter 03 – The “Ursonate”
chapter 04 – Hatching
chapter 05 – First Spacewalk
chapter 06 – 24h Bonding
chapter 07 – Third Spacewalk
chapter 08 – The V
chapter 09 – Mobile Moon
chapter 10 – Spaceport – Lunar Bike
chapter 11 – Weightlessness Training
chapter 12 – Endurance
chapter 13 – High Altitude Training
chapter 14 – Observatory
chapter 15 – School
chapter 16 – Spacesuit Testing
chapter 17 – Take Off Chariot
chapter 18 – Microlight Aircraft Method
chapter 19 – Epilogue

Science-Art Scumble #30

By Glendon Mellow | March 25, 2012 |
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Spring by Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1563, oil on wood). In my opinion one of the historical precursors to science-art and scientific illustration

Jean Giraud (Moebius) 1938-2012 – Lines and Colors

Ralph McQuarrie, 1929-2012 – Lines and Colors

Calling all GNSI Illustrators – Britt Griswold, Guild of Natural Science Illustrators

Why hire a professional illustrator? – News from the Studio of Emily Damstra

Bringing Plants to the People
– Carol Gracie, ArtPlantae Today

Evolutionary Biology in Video Games? – Biocreativity

Keeping Clam – Weapon of Mass Imagination

Marc Quinn: All of Nature Flows Through Us – Vanessa Ruiz, Street Anatomy

Loggerheads – Laughing Mantis

Best rejection letter ever – Artologica

Thought Forms – Sticks & Stones, Eggs & Bones

Creative Stealing – Annette Heist, Science & the Arts

A couple of shows, a couple of bats – A Curious Bestiary

Pachyrhinosaurus Size Chart – The CAW Box

Allosaurus Science Ink – The Flying Trilobite

iPalaeontology – the iPad as a research tool – Palaeo Illustrata

Prints and Posters – Sci-ence

Pilot Whales in Watercolor – Omegafauna

SONSI Exhibit 2012 – Southern Ontario Nature & Science Illustrators

Sword Fern at Muir Woods – Walk About

3D Robot Dinosaurs! – drip

ART Evolved is a no-Pin zone, sadly… – Craig Dylke, ART Evolved

Cedar Waxwing – Xanthopan

Displaying stuff at the nanolevel at museums – Medical Museion

Transform Your iPhone Into a Microscope – Just Add Water – Compound Eye

Sketching Geckos in the Museum of Science – Tricia’s Obligatory Art Blog!

AI: Emoticons are Art – Mad Art Lab

Science as mystical connections – only art dares! – Alchemy

* * *

Scumble:  ”A painting technique in which semi-opaque or thin opaque colors are loosely brushed over an underpainted area so that patches of the color beneath show through.”

From  The Artist’s Handbook, by Ray Smith.

This began as a series of posts on my personal blog, The Flying Trilobite, as a way to brush highlights over the tremendous amount of science-based art that’s out there. I can’t begin to cover it all, so here’s a scumble over some recent posts that I found interesting, provocative, or otherwise caught my eye from the  Science Artists Feed, and other sources.

Science-art is becoming an increasingly popular form of science communication and entertainment. Drawing from fine art, laboratory work, scientific illustration, concept art and more, watch how artists spread scientific literacy and play with the inspiring concepts in science.  Doing the Scumble posts, I hope to connect artists with each other, and expose their work to a wider audience.  Remember, a lot of these artists are available for commissions and have online shops for original art and reproductions.

Put your feet up, make yourself an espresso and enjoy the science-art on the links above.

Click here for recent Scumbles and  here for even earlier Scumbles.


Glendon MellowAbout the Author: Glendon Mellow is a fine artist and illustrator inspired by evolutionary biology working in oil and digital media. You can see his portfolio at and at The Flying Trilobite blog. Follow him solo at @flyingtrilobite and with co-blogger Kalliopi Monoyios at @symbiartic. Follow on Twitter @symbiartic.

Alan Lightman Helps Launch Pi Day

The Pleasures of Science and Art

Written by: Ellen Gilbert
Alan LightmanIN LOVE WITH SCIENCE AND ART: Physicist/novelist Alan Lightman spoke about his dual passions at the Princeton Public Library.

“Ever since I was a boy my passions were equally divided between science and art,” said author Alan Lightman, setting the scene for his Friday evening talk at the Princeton Public Library. Mr. Lightman’s appearance was part of a series of events leading up to the community-wide observance of Pi Day, a celebration of the famous constant as well as the birthday, March 14, of Princeton’s favorite resident, Albert Einstein.


No one could question what seemed to be Mr. Lightman’s cosmically-aligned qualifications for the event. He is the author of Einstein’s Dreams (1993), a best-selling novel that has been translated into 30 languages. Currently a resident of Massachusetts where he holds a joint appointment in science and the humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mr. Lightman spent his undergraduate years at Princeton University (class of 1970). Later, his dissertation committee at the California Institute of Technology, where he received a PhD in theoretical physics, included physics superstar Richard Feynman.

Mr. Lightman’s talk on Friday evening focused on the similarities and differences between art and science. He was, he said, “fortunate to make a career of both.” He took part in boyhood experiments (including a Sputnik-inspired rocket project), as well as literary pursuits; when he showed his grandmother a poem he’d written about his grandfather’s death, he was impressed to discover that “marks on a paper” could be so forceful as to make someone cry.

While scientists seek to name things, artists tend to “avoid naming things,” Mr. Lightman suggested. Artists’ stock-in trade are concepts like “love” and “fear” that may not convey much to the reader. “There are a thousand kinds of love,” Mr. Lightman observed, and it is the author’s job to show “that particular ache,” rather than name it. “Each reader will draw on their experiences to understand the author’s meaning,” he said, adding that “a novel is not completed until it is read by a reader, and every reader completes a novel in a different way.”

Set against the sensual, hard-to-define experiences of art, Mr. Lightman described his love for the “shining purity” and “certainty” of mathematics, where there is a “guaranteed answer.” The area of circle, he reminded the audience, is πr2 andthere are “no contradictions.” The topic sentence that is essential in expository writing, he noted, is “fatal” in fiction.

What science and art do have in common, Mr. Lightman said, is the fact that “both seek beauty,” which is “hard to define in any field,” but “we know it when we see it.” Both art and science celebrate simplicity while trying to make sense of life’s complexities, he added. As an example of beautifully rendered fiction, Mr. Lightman described the scene in James Joyce’s short story, “The Dead,” when Gabriel Conroy recognizes the transcendent power of his wife Gretta’s love for a young man in her past.

Mr. Lightman reported that “the creative moment,” when he is totally immersed in his writing, occurs whether he is writing about science or writing fiction. He then becomes “pure spirit … oblivious to everything.”

In his talk, Mr. Lightman, who was introduced by Library Director Leslie Burger, referenced poets Rainer Maria Rilke and his advice to “try to love the questions themselves,” and Walt Whitman’s realization of the “sweet hell” he anticipated when he knew he was destined to be a poet.

Einstein’s Dreams is a fictional collage of thirty stories dreamed by Albert Einstein in 1905 as he worked in a patent office in Switzerland but was thinking through his theory of relativity. The New York Times review of the book described it as a “magical, metaphysical realm …. Captivating, enchanting, delightful.”

Mr. Lightman’s other novels include Good Benito; The Diagnosis; Reunion; Ghost; and his most recent book, Mr g, a creation story. His books on scientific topics include Origins; Ancient Light; Great Ideas in Physics; and The Discoveries. He has also published a book of poetry with the perhaps unsurprising title, Song of Two Worlds. His essays and reviews have appeared in The Atlantic, Harper’s, The New Yorker, Nature, The New York Review of Books, and other publications.