Catalog Course Description

Science, Art & Technology Studio | Lab

Two week summer course including lecture, required screenings, lab visits, field trips and outside study. Open to high school students. This introductory studio / lab course to explore the creative aspects of scientific research and innovation. Students will gain a broad understanding of the impact of science on contemporary art and popular culture and focus on new sciences - bio and nanotechnology. Emphasis will be on development of proposals and ideas that could serve as prototypes for either an art project or a scientific research study. P / NP grading. 4 Units.

Course Objectives

With the new century in its' first decade, new sciences have emerged with bio and nanotechnology being at the helm of visionary futuristic science. This science is interdisciplinary at its core and requires an entirely new way of thinking and introduction of new methodologies. Rarely do young scientists have an opportunity to be visionary to this degree and having active relationships with artists can prove more than beneficial.

The future of new discoveries is determined not just by scientific knowledge but by the application of creative thought and imagination. This is the most crucial determining factor in creating new technologies. The thought process is unlike engineering that traditionally relies on predefined theories and models and which is often based on a very reductionism in understanding of structures. Biological structures by their nature tend to be complex and interconnected where the interconnection and structure on different scales interplay to create spectacular new properties. The cell is a good example of a system that cannot be understood in terms of classical engineering. Consequently nanotechnology has looked at biological systems for inspiration.

The advantage of an artistic approach to new science lies in their ability to approach problems from a more holistic and general approach, to conceive of ways to deal with complexity in ways that don't rely on the usual tried and tested methodology of the scientist or engineer and which, when combined with science, provide a powerful new direction for invention and creation. The other existing problem with science and engineering is that all too often the approach has been to find a use for a system of phenomenon rather than find a way to implement something that people would like or need.

The approach of backward chaining or horizon mission methodology where we go backwards from a general problem is much more appropriate for nanotechnology and it is there that science and art combine in an ideal fashion. For instance the nano-architectonics -- the science of architecture on the nanoscale is an area where architecture can play a input for design of materials.

The summer course will be conducted on the South side of campus and the newly built California Nanosystems Institute (CNSI). It would run in parallel to the Design | Media Arts Summer Institute and the NanoCER program for in-residence undergraduate science students. Students will be interacting with both programs through the Summer sessions program. The D|MA program will expose the young scientists to the possibilities of digital media and the NanoCer program will allow them entrance into the most cutting edge scientific labs on campus.


In addition to required lab time, lectures and discussions (80 hours), field trips (40 hours), students will be required to blog daily about their experiences. They are asked to specifically search for resources and have links and images as part of their daily blog. The blogs will be responding to the lecture and the daily encounter with a particular science topic and also include links and images from research on the web. Minimum number of words : 1000, minimum links: 10, minimum images: 3


Midterm and finals will be in the form of a powerpoint presentation that will also be uploaded to the class website. Attendance: 20%, Blogs: 30%, Midterm: 20%, Final: 30%