News & events
Art and science fuse at the Didcot Cornerstone this Spring | 26/02/2015
Think science and art are poles apart? Think again. Three artists who have been inspired by nuclear fusion – the quest to copy the power of the stars for a new energy source – will display their work at the ‘Making a Sun on Earth' exhibition, which runs at the Cornerstone Arts Centre at Didcot from 10 March to 26 April. And they hope their collaboration with Culham Centre for Fusion Energy will challenge people's ideas about science.
Doug Patterson's paintings of JET, the large European fusion experiment hosted at Culham, form part of his ‘Sacred Places' project. For this, he is making a series of journeys to explore the worlds of science and religion. Doug has followed in the footsteps of three 18th and 19th century travelling artists who recorded religious sites in Africa, Asia and Europe. He has also made his own journey to ‘temples of science' – JET, CERN and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway – which he sees as today's equivalents.
Doug Patterson said: “Throughout history, men and women have searched to find their Gods in various forms, developing architecture that expressed their spirituality. The 20th century witnessed incredible advances in technology and science, and an architecture has developed which has created its own aesthetic. Working on site on the images of JET, I tried to express in my work the utilitarian spaces and spirit within this modern-day cathedral of science.”
The exhibition also displays the work of photographers Alastair Philip Wiper and Tim Jones.
Alastair's images of Culham are part of his ‘Unintended Beauty' collection, which portrays the architecture of science facilities and their unlikely visual appeal. Based in Copenhagen, he has visited sites from the particle accelerators of CERN to a huge solar furnace in France and a ‘sound-free' anechoic chamber in Denmark. His work has been featured in New Scientist, Wired, the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail.
Adding a human face to the science is Sydney-based photographer Tim Jones. Tim visited Culham to shoot a series of portraits of the physicists, engineers and technicians working on the fusion research programme.
Exhibition organiser Susan Hayward from Culham Centre for Fusion Energy said: “People often think that art and science don't mix, but we want to show that's not the case. Our scientists and engineers create miniature stars in the laboratory to study nuclear fusion, and this has really captured the imagination of the three artists. We hope the exhibition brings the work at CCFE to an audience who wouldn't normally experience it.”
The exhibition is free to enter, and the Cornerstone are running a series of events linked to it:
Meet the Scientist: Wednesday 25 March and Thursday 16 April, 3.00pm-4.30pm (free – drop in)
Meet some of the scientists and engineers behind Making a Sun on Earth, find out more about the work they do at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy and ask any questions you have.
Science Day – Sun and Earth: Wednesday 1 April (free but booking required)
A day of fantastic hands-on science themed workshops delivered in partnership with RAL Space, Science Oxford and CCFE. Workshops include CCFE's ‘Sun Dome' (a big inflatable dome where you'll find out about the making of the Sun and the background to fusion energy), using shadows to measure the circumference of the earth, and making solar telescopes to see sunspots!
Talk – Fusion Power: Within Our Grasp? Tuesday 21 April 7.30pm (tickets: £2.50)
Culham Centre for Fusion Energy's director, Professor Steve Cowley, gives a talk about the research underway at CCFE into a new source of energy – nuclear fusion. With fossil fuel reserves diminishing and concerns over climate change increasing, the hunt for alternative sources of energy is crucial. This is a special Café Scientifique event in association with Didcot First and Culham Centre for Fusion Energy.
To find more information or book places at the events go to: http://www.cornerstone-arts.org/gallery/making-sun-earth or contact the Cornerstone box office on 01235 515144.