Sculptures inspired by quantum physics


13 Responses to “Sculptures inspired by quantum physics”

  1. DaveSeidel says:

    Also check out the atom sculptures of artist Kenneth Snelson (the guy who actually invented tensegrity structures, when he was one of Bucky Fuller’s student at Black Mountain College).

  2. anothershamus says:

    Good Job Julian!

  3. metatim says:

    To georgeweis (and indeed DP):

    On rereading, it’s clear to me that in my haste to take offense I skimmed straight past the relevant text. Hopefully I can learn from that. I’m less likely to learn not to post while ill and deficient in sleep, as I’m evidently doing that again right now.

    It still seems to me that there’s an interesting argument to be had here – indeed, I did at least acknowledge that I may have misinterpreted the intended meaning of ‘understand’ – but I think it would be best if I left any such attempt to a (near?) future version of me that would be better placed to do so.

    I come to much the same conclusion when considering johnphantom’s problem.

  4. Prof. Smackdown says:

    Interesting stuff. Did you know that nearly 100 years ago modernist artists like Naum Gabo were making sculptures based on Einstein’s theory of relativity (cutting edge back then)?

  5. metatim says:

    Much as I enjoy seeing work ‘inspired’ by quantum physics, I inevitably end up feeling slightly annoyed with the unjustified statements that typically accompany them. I suppose this is to be expected as my PhD thesis was on, essentially, programming quantum computers. It took me a full year of study (on top of a regular maths/physics background) to start to get my head around the ideas involved, and it’s not really fair to expect professional artists to reach a similar level of understanding.

    Still, for the record, I must disagree with the statement “there simply are no consistent mental images we can create to understand the world as it is portrayed in quantum physics”. The Bloch sphere is one example of a perfectly consistent mental image to understand certain aspects of quantum physics.

    It’s certainly not easy to understand how that abstract idea relates to reality, but we can (empirically!) satisfy ourselves that it does relate perfectly well, and we are then free to use that visual analogy to ‘understand’ certain quantum processes in a very real sense.

    Then again, perhaps I misinterpret what’s meant by ‘understand’. As the Feynman quote goes, “Anyone who says that they understand Quantum Mechanics does not understand Quantum Mechanics,” and he should know.

  6. David Pescovitz says:

    @metatime, From the artist’s bio:

    “Voss-Andreae pursued his graduate research in quantum physics, participating in a seminal experiment demonstrating quantum behavior for the largest objects thus far.”

  7. stagendogs says:

    Stage Design inspired on Fractals and tesellations
    Text is in Spanish

  8. johnphantom says:

    Oooh metatim. Want to see something that uses only pure connections to work?

    Here is a math problem that illustrates what I can do with one command, and utilizes absolutely no math:

    (and yes, I came up with the math problem – funny part is one solution uses Pascal’s Triangle, and no, I did not solve it)

    I think I can say I can do anything with just connections.

  9. johnphantom says:

    metatim, contact me at johnphantom at if you wish to communicate further. Please do.

  10. stevew says:

    Bathsheba Grossman has been printing 3D geometric sculpture for years. Interesting for her materials handling processes as well as the mathematical concepts she makes into art.

  11. johnphantom says:

    Answer to what? How our brains work?

    The best answer I have is our brains are wired through infinite possible connections. How to harness infinity is not what I understand, but I can harness pure connections that possibly could utilize infinite states.

    If anything, I know that current quantum computing tries to harness infinite states in a simplistic duo state. This is not utilizing the quantum state as it is in nature.

    Referencing: – this is an excellent document on quantum computing and quantum information theory, written by Andrew Steane:

    “The new version of the Church-Turing thesis (now called the ‘Church-Turing Principle’) does not refer to Turing machines. This is important because there are fundamental differences between the very nature of the Turing machine and the principles of quantum mechanics. One is described in terms of operations on classical bits, the other in terms of evolution of quantum states. Hence there is the possibility that the universal Turing machine, and hence all classical computers, might not be able to simulate some of the behavior to be found in Nature. Conversely, it may be physically possible (i.e. not ruled out by the laws of Nature) to realize a new type of computation essentially different from that of classical computer science. This is the central aim of quantum computing.”

  12. georgeweis says:

    To metatim:

    I find your arrogant put-down of Julian Voss-Andreae annoying. The artist’s bio, as well as his excellent commentary itself reveal that he is fully qualified to make such commentaries.

    And in fact, what Voss-Andreae writes is factually correct: a fully satisfactory realist description, pictorial or verbal, of what e.g. an electron IS, has proven to be impossible. Your supposed counter-example, the Bloch sphere, merely represents a mathematical description of certain features of this model (as does e.g. any image of a wave-function); but it does not describe what the quantum “object” IS, in any realist sense of the word. And that is what the artist was, correctly, stating.

Leave a Reply