Physics Meets the Arts,” is a semester-long exploration of fundamental physics concepts through the visual and performing arts, designed and taught by Ágnes Mócsy, Yale Presidential Visiting Fellow and visiting professor in the Yale University Department of Physics. The Physics Meets the Arts seminar took an innovative approach to teach fundamental physics concepts and cutting edge research topics through various forms of art including fine arts, poetry, film, music and the visual arts.  The students discovered innovative ways of seeing and understanding physics, the process of doing science, and who the practitioners are, as well as the sometimes unexpected, conceptual connections between physics and the arts, by engaging in the following course activities:

  • Five classes held in the Yale University Art Gallery amongst the collection.  These classes were developed in collaboration with Sydney Simon, the Bradley Assistant Curator for Academic Affairs at YUAG.  It was the first time a physics class has been held at the gallery.
  • Several physics demonstrations in the classroom led by Stephen Irons, manager of physics instructional support and Paul Noel, instructional support specialist
  • A tour of two research labs in Wright Lab that house physics experiments and R&D efforts, led by assistant professor of physics David Moore
  • Classroom discussions with guest professionals:
    • Reina Maruyama, associate professor of physics
    • Roald Hoffmann, Nobel prize-winning chemist, playwright and poet
    • Consensus, London-based hip-hop artist and former artist-in-residence at the Large Hadron Collider, talking about the making and scope of his 9-track, particle physics-based album
    • Tim Otto Roth, German conceptual artist who has collaborated with NASA, Kaskade, IceCube, and others to create his signature works – giant, yet minimalistic installations
    • Karyl Evans, six-time Emmy-award winning documentary filmmaker

The class culminated in each student creating a “fusion project,” in which they chose a physics topic from the course, researched it further and then brought it alive through a medium of their choice, which ranged from paintings through sculptures, to ceramics, music, poetry and film.  The projects were presented in class and judged by a panel of professionals both for physics and artistic merit.