Wright Lab hosts 2022 Visualize Science: Quantum Edition competition

6 people standing with a crafted sculpture in front of them.
April 14, 2022

On Wednesday, April 13, 2022, artists and scientists convened at Wright Lab to participate in the 2022 Visualize Science: Quantum Edition contest.   This was the second iteration of the Visualize Science contest at Wright Lab; the first was in 2019.

The objective of the half-day-long competition was for teams of artists and scientists to work together to create a conceptual model of a quantum concept, and realize it in either two- or three-dimensional format using materials provided for the competition.   The focus on quantum science this year is due to the fact that the event was part of the programming for Quantum Week at Yale.

The concept chosen for this year’s competition was quantum entanglement, which is one of the many research topics investigated by Wright Lab’s D. Allan Bromley Professor of Physics Keith Baker and his group.

The contest began with an introduction from Victoria Misenti, Wright Lab Program Manager and Eric Fleischmann, ‘83, who had originally conceived of the contest, along with Wright Lab Director Karsten Heeger, after Fleischmann had come to Wright Lab for a tour that Heeger had led.

Next, a panel of Wright Lab scientists including graduate students Molly Watts and Jiaxiang Wang and postgraduate associate Claire Laffan discussed the concept of quantum entanglement in terms of its properties, motion, how it can be detected, and other concepts that were useful for the contest goals.  The panel was moderated by Misenti.

Misenti then explained the contest format and timeline.

The teams then split into two groups, and separated into each of the two meeting rooms at Wright Lab.  Each team was a mix of artists and scientists, including some scientists who are also artists.  

Group 1:  

  • Daria Bobrova, graduate student in Statistics and Data Science
  • Claire Laffan, postgraduate associate in physics at Wright Lab
  • Joseph Dominicus Lap, graduate student in Physics
  • Frank Lopez, Wright Lab research and development technician
  • Elifnaz Onder, undergraduate student in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Group 2: 

  • Monique Atherton, photographer; research analyst, prospect research in the Yale Office of Development
  • David Rabinowitz, senior research scientist at Wright Lab
  • Samantha Pagan, graduate student in Physics at Wright Lab
  • Kelly Zhou, undergraduate student in Computing and the Arts

The teams had an hour-and-a-half to design and complete their projects.  At 3:30 p.m., the teams brought their finished visualizations to the Wright Lab WL-216 meeting room and gave brief presentations about their work to each other and to other Wright Lab and Physics Department community members who had been invited to attend the presentations and vote for a “People’s Award”.  

Group 1 produced a static sculpture (see image, above) and was awarded the People’s Award.

Group 2 produced a stop-motion claymation video (see link to video here), and was awarded the Judge’s Award by Fleischmann.

The static sculpture is currently on display in the Wright Lab business office.  Photographs of the day and the final submissions can be found on our Flickr page here.

The contest aligns with the goals of the report of the University Science Strategy Committee, especially by providing interdisciplinary connections between art and science at Yale, improving research communication, facilitating imaging and image analysis, modelling data, and increasing the understanding and analysis of physical systems.

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