The gallery features art from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and the Department of Chemistry.
Visitors to Champaign-Urbana’s Willard Airport can now enjoy an eye-catching display of research art related to chemical sciences. The project is a collaboration between the University of Illinois School of Chemical Sciences (SCS), Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE), and Department of Chemistry, and features images by students, research staff, and faculty.
The initiative aims to showcase the dynamic research being done on campus, such as explorations on how to deliver medicine through nanoparticles and understanding crystal growth for the development of new organic semiconductors. The display also demonstrates how beautiful science can be.
The images vary significantly in style. Some are state-of-the-art computer-generated models of real world phenomena, and some are microscopic images of novel materials, while others are more abstract, artistic renderings. An example of the latter is the image by Joseph Courtney (PhD, ’17, chemistry), which depicts the effect of COMPASS, computer vision inspired software co-developed with Professor Chad Rienstra that is able to identify a unique protein structure from a single NMR spectrum. The image conceptualizes the software as a literal compass, pointing to the true protein structure out of the large ensemble of possibilities.
The project was spear-headed by Taras Pogorelov (SCS), Christine des Garennes (ChBE), and Christen Mercier (Chemistry). Organizers hope the gallery inspires researchers to think creatively about presenting their projects to the public. Many of the images in the collection were selected from submissions to the Science Image Challenge, an annual competition sponsored by the school and coordinated by Pogorelov. Historically, winning images have been displayed in the school’s VizLab. In future, they may also be featured in the Willard gallery.
The research art display is located in the second story lounge and will be updated annually with new images.