6 July 2016

Research as Art 2016

Research as Art is the only competition of its kind, open to researchers from all subjects, and with an emphasis on telling the research story, as well as composing a striking image. Two of the runners up chosen are from SPECIFIC – SPECIFIC Researcher Katherine Hooper and EngDoc researcher Tom Dunlop.

Katherine Hooper Research as Art entry

'Tropical rainforest'

Runner Up - Katherine Hooper (College of Engineering)

This is an optical micrograph of a perovskite film showing two distinct crystal phases – the smaller areas of photoactive perovskite crystals (which is a brown phase) are dominated by a forest of very large needles (a white/clear phase).

The forest is “tropical” because the dendritic growth of these tree- like needle crystals is as a result of moisture reacting with the original perovskite crystal structure and converting it into a hydrated phase. It illustrates one of the challenges for perovskite solar cells which - their susceptibility to moisture. As a result humidity needs to be strongly controlled during fabrication and encapsulation is important to protect the layer against water after the device is made.


Tom Dunlop Research as Art entry 

'The maze of discovery'

Runner Up - Tom Dunlop (College of Engineering)

This image represents how research can be seen as a maze. You can choose to aim for the centre, or the exit. Some may choose to map every corner of the maze; others go straight to their destination. Both are valid and have their own benefits.

The pattern is based on the Hampton Court maze, used in experimental psychology studies by W.S.Small in the 1900’s. The walls of the maze are samples for developing a new coating over the past year. The coated glass, representing the experimental results, reveals the paths clearly. Dead ends can represent unsuccessful tests or unexpected results. The green vials represent the outlines of theory and assumptions, enough to give some direction, but may not always show a path.

For pure science it matters not whether you will reach the goal, or how many alternative routes you take along the way. It is the journey that counts.

To view the full list of winning entries, please visit the Swansea University Flickr account.

Competition founder Dr Richard Johnston, senior lecturer in materials science at Swansea University, said:

“Research as Art is an opportunity for researchers to reveal their personal story, their humanity, their inspiration, and emotion. It can also be a way of presenting their research process, and what it means to be a researcher; fostering dialogue, and dissolving barriers between universities and the wider world.”

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