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Art of Science 2020: Exhibition


Video Submissions: Experience 6 Finalists in Moving Picture

Planet Gallery: Explore the Stars with 1 Finalist

Image Gallery: A Traditional Viewing Experience

Vote: Decide the Winner of the People's Choice Award

Awardees: View Judge's Choice Awards for this Year

Sponsors and Credits: Those Who Made this Possible

Comments: Leave Praise for your Favorite Works


The 35 Art of Science finalist pieces are repeated and presented in multiple formats to account for various technical limitations of our exhibition and your ability to view the work. The virtual reality exhibition space is a fun way to engage our pieces but only supports static 2D images. As a result we have embedded video works below the virtual reality space. All 2D images are also replicated in the static gallery space in case there are technical difficulties in experiencing the virtual reality space. We recognize these various presentation formats introduce biases in how the works are interpreted. We ask our judges and our audience to work against these biases and appreciate the works themselves. If you have trouble seeing a piece, try using a different browser. If a problem persists or you have a question about the exhibition, please email




Christopher Jette, Mark Broschinsky, James Buchholz - Fluor Sonoescence


The piece begins and ends with sound, traversing through a series of translations along the way. Fluor Sonoescence started as a series of sustained tones on a brass instrument that were visualized as smoke clouds by placing smoke into the horn. The smoke was then illuminated by a laser and the image was captured with a high frame-rate camera, a collaborative enterprise of Professor James Buchholz, a Fluid Dynamics Researcher, and Christopher Jette, the composer. Using the spectral centroid of the smoke mass, the video serves as the basis of pitch content for the trombone and electronics. The live trombone is processed during the performance, combined with fixed electronics and juxtaposed with the source video material.

Fluor Sonoescence was written for trombonist Mark Broschinsky.

Mayank Sanganeria and David Kwak - Tear Glass Petri Dish


Tear glass petri dish is an audiovisual composition where the visuals, originally inspired by Wassily Kandinsky's Circles in a Circle (1923), are set to a minimalist piano piece. The visuals are deeply connected to the music, matching it for motion, color and structure.This piece also uses AI style transfer trained on the works on Kandinsky himself to add a connection that goes beyond the surface.

Audio and video composition by Mayank Sanganeria, Piano performance by David Kwak
More pieces are available at


Eva de la Serna - Sprouts of Life


This short film is a time lapse of live placental cells collectively migrating together and assembling micro-tissue placental structures in vitro over the course of 24 hours.

The science behind what you are viewing: The placenta is a villous organ that plays a myriad of critical roles during pregnancy, the most important of which is facilitating nutrient exchange between the mother and the fetus. To establish a robust nutrient exchange system, placental cells called trophoblasts from the outer layer of a human embryo anchor the embryo to the uterus and invade the tissue to remodel maternal uterine vasculature to exchange nutrients with fetal vasculature within the developing placenta. Remarkably, these trophoblast cells accomplish this remodeling phenomenon by aggressively migrating through uterine tissue and incorporating themselves into maternal blood vessels to expand them up to 4x their original diameter to supply adequate blood flow to the developing fetus at sustainable blood pressure levels. Many diseases of pregnancy arise due to complications in this invasion and vessel remodeling process. This film is an in vitro recapitulation of this trophoblast invasion process, as a trophoblast cell line collectively invades and migrates through a uterine tissue biomaterial model to remodel their environment.

Michael Fischer, Suki Somersall, Sven Eberwein, Nina Lee Holtsberry - Alexa vs. United States


"People in the US have freedom of speech – but with exceptions. Falsely shouting “fire” in a crowded theater (Schenck v. United States) is illegal because it is violent and engagers public safety. It creates a “clear and present danger” that forces others to engage in acts of violence. Freedom of speech is constantly being reviewed by the courts. Does yelling “Fuck the draft stop the war” (Cohen v. California) make for a “clear and present danger” in our ability to win the Vietnam War? The Pulitzer Prize winning poem “Howl” was restricted because it was “obscene” and dangerous to society (California vs. Ferlinghetti).

Freedom of Speech has only been legally tested with humans. In this project we create an advanced Alexa, which generates speech using AI. Does Freedom of Speech apply to AI?

Alexa is entombed within 3D printed resin head that glows from within. The exhibit is display on a pedestal draped with a custom printed American flag. For this online version, we have rendered the Alexa and head in 3D.

Follow our other projects.
Mikey Fischer:,
Suki Somersall:
Sven Eberwein:
Nina Lee Holtsberry:

Ben Bartlett - Spherical Harmonic Oscillation in Diamond

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This animation is a ray-traced rendering of refraction and chromatic dispersion through a structure with the optical properties of diamond which is oscillating in a spherical harmonic vibrational mode.

The video depicts the first few periods of the oscillation and was made using Mathematica, Python, and LuxCoreRender. It took 6 days for my desktop to simulate the 100 frames (3 seconds) that form a half-period of the oscillation.

I make math/physics animations in my spare time and share them on Twitter:

Miriam Haart - AI Generated Landscapes using GAN Networks


This project presents images that were generated using a Generative Adversarial Neural (GAN) Network. The network was trained using images of different landscapes. This video presents the generated landscapes based on the vector compositions of the images so that the video flows through the generated landscapes in a smooth way.


Abel Lawrence Peirson and Dylan Freedman - Planet Gallery


"I was sitting near the campfire wondering about the stars. Slowly a thought came: The stars are flame, I thought. Then I had another thought: The stars are campfires that other hunterfolk light at night. The stars give a smaller light than campfires. So the stars must be campfires very far away.” — Carl Sagan, Cosmos

The early humans may not have been far wrong about the stars. We have discovered more than 4000 planets around stars other than our Sun (exoplanets), and we are rapidly discovering more. Browse planet gallery to see real images of all the exoplanets we have discovered so far! What you will see is a vignette of the sky around the star hosting the exoplanet.

It’s possible that some of these planets harbour life. Which one do you think?




Traditional Gallery

To remove caption, hover over image then remove cursor

Due to large file sizes, you may experience a slight delay when opening images


People's Choice Award


After reviewing all of the finalists, please vote for your favorite art using the google form below. The finalist with the most votes will be awarded the "People's Choice Award". An email address via Google is required to vote. We apologize to those exhibition attendees who do not use Google email services.

Even though the judge's have made their award selections, the People's Choice award is not yet decided! Vote now!




Congratulations to the 2020 Art of Science Exhibition Awardees



The Materials Science and Engineering Department 1st Place Prize:


The Body as Canvas

Savannah Mohacsi

Senior, Human Biology at Stanford

Honors in the Arts



The Graduate Students in Electrical Engineering 2nd Place Prize:


Changing Views in Data Science over Fifty Years

Ethan O. Nadler1, Mark Chu2, Tasker Hull3, Douglas Guilbeault4

1PhD Candidate, Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, Stanford  

2Artist, New York & Melbourne

3Data Scientist, Toronto

4Assistant Professor, Haas Business School, UC Berkeley



The Stanford Energy Club 3rd Place Prize:


Fluor Sonoescence

Christopher Jette1, Mark Broschinsky2, James Buchholz3

1 Lecturer and Community Member, Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, Stanford

2Trombonist and Faculty, The Guidonian Hand & Manhattan School of Music

3 Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, University of Iowa



The Stanford MRS People's Choice Award:


Selective Area Growth Field Effect Nanowires

Gregory Zaborski

PhD Candidate, Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford


Awardees were selected based on an aggregated score from 6.5 judges (see note). Judges ranked each piece independently on artistic and scientific merit on a scale from 1-5 where 1 represented the highest score. The art score was weighted 20% heavier than the science score, or in other words, an art score of 1 is adjusted to 0.8. Hence the total range of allowable scores for 6.5 judges was from 12.8 to 58 where 12.8 represents the best possible score. 


The distribution of judges scores is shown below. The x-axis represents score bins and the y-axis counts the number of pieces that scored in the given range. 3 pieces that scored over 36 points are lumped into the final column. We are happy with the outcome of the judging, as we can see there is a reasonable distribution of scores over the 35 finalist pieces. There was a clear 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner but the point differential between these 3 pieces and the next 6 closest was extremely tight, such that input from an additional judge could have entirely reorganized the positioning of the top scoring artworks. This shows the high quality of artwork amongst the finalist but also underlines the inherent subjectivity in the judging process.


Ultimately, Art of Science is about sharing our creative expressions and not about the judge’s opinions or the arbitrary aggregate of their scores. We hope you enjoyed the 9th annual Art of Science and we encourage you to start preparing your pieces for next year’s exhibition.


Note: 8 judges were initially asked to review this year’s exhibition. However, life is busy. One judge was unable to provide their feedback. Another judge was only able to rank each piece based on artistic quality and did not have the time to consider scientific merit. Hence an aggregated score from 6.5 judges. This biases the overall judging to artistic subjectivity but does not introduce additional sources of “unfairness”. 




Sponsors and Credits


Art of Science is sponsored by the Materials Science and Engineering Department, the School of Engineering, the Graduate Student Council, the Graduate Students in Electrical Engineering, and the Stanford Energy Club.


Art of Science is organized by the Stanford Materials Research Society


Organizing Committee:

Michael Braun, Christina Cheng, Risa Hocking, Elissa Klopfer, Andrew Lee, Olivia Saouaf, Dante Zakhidov



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