Artfully Exploring Quantum Physics

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David A.W. Hutchinson
Becky Cameron
Holly Aitchison


The Art and Light Project has successfully brought together artists and scientists from across the Dunedin community and created a forum for dialogue and understanding. Some beautiful art has been created which culminated in a well-attended exhibition at the Otago Museum. More than 60 years ago, C.P. Snow wrote4 in his wonderful little book of warning, The Two Cultures, that “There seems to be no place where the cultures meet. I am not going to waste time saying that this is a pity. It is much worse than that.” This exercise has attempted to bridge a little of that gap between the cultures of science and the arts. Moreover, I think that both artists and scientists alike would agree that the distinction is an artificial one. To illustrate this we have tried to express in this article the similarities in method and thought between creation—for they are both creative processes—in art and science.

Moreover, the science we have tried to portray through this art and this article can be difficult to grasp. The exhibition itself has been a vehicle that has enabled us to engage with an audience that would not perhaps normally be exposed to quantum science. As a public outreach and educational exercise, this project has therefore been a resounding success. More importantly, it was a lot of fun.

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Author Biographies

David A.W. Hutchinson, University of Otago

Professor, Physics, University of Otago; Director, Dodd-Walls Centre

David Hutchinson is the Director of the Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies and a member of the Department of Physics at the University of Otago.

Becky Cameron

Based in Dunedin, Becky Cameron holds an MA in art conservation, and in 2013 completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts with Honours at the Dunedin School of Art. She has been exhibiting since 2008, and her most recent project, “Te Ao Huri Huri/The Turning World,” was shown as a part of the Dunedin Matariki Festival in July 2014. Cameron’s practice explores landscape, memory, belonging and home.

Holly Aitchison

Holly Aitchison is an autodidactic artist who lives and works in Dunedin teaching art to people with special needs. Holly worked with Jimmy Currin on the conceptualisation of The Measurement Problem.