Patternation in Science and Art

By Phil McCall

Dr Maynard-Caseley and colleagues from ANSTO present activities as part of the Patternation exhibition.

Nuclear instrument scientist Dr Helen Maynard-Casely recently left the lab and entered the arts studio as a guest presenter for the Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre’s Patternation exhibition. Dr Maynard-Casely is herself a collector of patterns, in a slightly different way to the artists, through her work with crystallography at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO).

Dr Maynard-Casely was invited by the gallery to present a number of activities as part of Patternation that show how patterns are everywhere in science, and how those same ideas were also explored in the exhibition.

“My science, crystallography, is all about collecting patterns and working out what comes from the patterns of atoms I find,” said Dr Maynard-Casely.

As part of the Hazelhurst exhibition, Dr Maynard-Casely iwas joined by ANSTO colleagues who presented a number of activities to demonstrate patterns in science.

“One used a visible light spectrometer to show the colours in people’s clothing as they stood in front of it – they could see the wavelengths of colour, an idea which also inspired some of the art,” Dr Maynard-Casely said.

The team from ANSTO also showed people how the breakdown of crystallisation works by invited them to create their own diamond structures.
“These diamond structures are an excellent way of showing repeating units, which is what my science is about, and also is seen in works such as Liz Shreeve’s piece ‘Gather’, which is part of the exhibition.”

ANSTO researchers shared pattern images collected in the course of their work and were on hand to explain these to the public who attended the popular Hazelhurst at Night program.

Phil McCall is a media adviser at ANSTO. Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre and ANSTO are partners in the Southern Sydney Science Hub.