NanoArt as Visual Aid in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

NanoArt as Visual Aid in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

Christian Orfescu (NanoArt21, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5332-8.ch005


This chapter is an attempt to introduce NanoArt as a visual aid for education in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and support the understanding of the benefits the integration of this new artistic-scientific discipline creates in a future academic curriculum. The evolution of the visibility power, advances in the visual theory which made all these developments possible, and a short primer on electron microscopy are also presented. The chapter informs about the international juried NanoArt competitions and festivals organized by NanoArt 21 and other organizations, the NanoArt presence at International Art-Science-Technology and STEAM conferences, the NanoArt K12 program, the Academy of NanoArt recently founded, and finally the Moon Museum (part of the MoonArk project) that include NanoArt works authored by 47 nanoartists from NanoArt 21 group.
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Visibility Power And Visual Theory

NanoArt is strongly related to the visibility power which increased exponentially starting over 2500 years ago with the eye lens and eye loop as upgrades of the human eye, continuing in the Renaissance period with the optical microscope (the oldest optical microscope known is displayed at the Science Museum in Florence, Italy), and culminating in the late 1930s with the first commercial electron microscope, the Transmission Electron Microscope developed by Siemens.

Around 700 BC, ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians started polishing quartz crystals as an attempt to replicate optical abilities of water. One of the most famous examples of those original lenses is Nimrud lens. Created in the ancient Assyria between 750 and 710 BC, this lens was used as decorative piece, magnifying glass, or tool for starting fires (British Museum, 2017). The earliest magnification device that has been mentioned in literature it was in Aristophanes’s play The Clouds in 424 BC (Aristophanes & Walsh, 1923/2012). Roman tragedian Seneca (4 BC-65AD) is said to have used a glass globe of water as a magnifier to read ‘‘all the books of Rome’’ (King, 2003). It’s been reported that monks in the middle ages used glass spheres as magnifying glasses to read. Roger Bacon described in the 13th century the properties of a magnifying glass in England.

In the 13th Century, Venetian glass blowers produced reading stones made of solid glass that was put into hand-held, single lens-type frames made of horn or wood, similar to hand-held magnifying lenses of today. Eyeglasses were developed in 13th century Italy (Kriss, T.C., & Martich Kriss, 1998). In a sermon delivered on February 23, 1306, the Dominican friar Giordano da Pisa (ca. 1255–1311) wrote, “It is not yet twenty years since there was found the art of making eyeglasses, which make for good vision... And it is so short a time that this new art, never before extant, was discovered. ... I saw the one who first discovered and practiced it, and I talked to him.” (Ilardi, 2007). The first known artistic representation of the use of eyeglasses in that time is the portrait of Cardinal Hugh de Provence by Tommaso da Modena (1352). History of optics changed dramatically with Friar Salvino D’Armate’s creation of the first wearable eyeglasses.

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