Post by Vijayalakshmi Kalyanaraman
Above, Buckminster Fuller poses with students in his geodesic dome at Chicago’s Institute of Design. You can find a similar structure on the museum campus, just past the Field Museum, in a very science-influenced playground. The C60 molecule shares the shape of Fuller’s dome, and is often called a Buckminister Fullerene or Buckyball. So children playing around on an odd-shaped jungle gym are also getting a feel for chemistry and design.
The Sears (now Willis) Tower is the second tallest building in the world! Architecture is a form of art that depends heavily on physics, and more so with such a large and impressive structure. But the tower is perhaps best appreciated from inside, through the view from the top. Science contributes to this as well. A pilot project on the 56th floor will replace the windows with a special type of transparent photovoltaic glass. Their diffused light will increase the building’s energy efficiency, at the same time providing a clearer view out. The whole floor will be powered by solar generated electricity from the windows. How cool is that?
There are also many projects around the city that deliberately combine art and science. For example, in recent years, the Art Institute of Chicago has been working with Northwestern University to explore and conserve art through science.
Where else do art and science meet in the city? What are your favorite examples?