When science meets art (sort of)

I had been looking forward to a quiet day last Tuesday, to get back into the swing of work after the bank holiday weekend, but instead I found myself with Natalie in a chemistry laboratory at the university, helping her to set up and take photos of plants for a project that she is working on.

Her plan is to identify various flora that have chemical properties, such as those used in pharmaceuticals or biofuels, and to combine photos of them with their chemical structures and a description of how they are used. We were essentially just mucking around at this stage, though, to see how things looked.

We must have taken a couple of hundred photos over an hour or so. We also got a fair few odd glances from other people working in the lab. It was, however, excellent fun. Here are a few of my favourite images from our rather odd photoshoot.*

Eucalyptus
ZebraGrass
Rosemary
EchinopsRoll
Echinops
RoseBeaker
RosePaper
* Natalie would no doubt want me to add that these are just some rough images to get a feel for how things look and to develop a ‘proof of concept’ for her project. The end result will no doubt look a lot better, if only because it’ll be someone with significantly more talent than me taking the photos…

Oh, and please excuse the watermarks on the photos. It’s not that I don’t trust you, but rather that Natalie wants to use the photos for her project so it seemed sensible to protect them. (Thanks, Jenny, for the suggestion.)

Walk more, drive less

I went to a workshop earlier today on Green Marketing, held by Bristol’s Think Future Now and presented by green marketing guru John Grant. John showed us this video about a project developed in China to convince people to walk more and drive less. It’s a great example of how art can be used to convey a powerful message. I really like it and it’s given me loads of ideas for things we could do here in the UK.

The idea won the Grand Prix at the Green Awards in London back in 2010. According to the China Environmental Protection Foundation, the campaign reached an impressive 3.9 million people and increased general public awareness about the environment by 86%. Not bad for a few pieces of paper and some paint.