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A physics-inspired art installation housed on the ground floor of the Physical Sciences Building Museum at UCSC will open to students and the public in October. The installation is the outcome of an exciting partnership between UCSC physics students, UCSC physics lecturer Dr. Stephanie Bailey, and conceptual artists Amy Buntyn Steinberg, Richard Smith, and Laura McHugh.


The artwork, called “Motors Surround Us”, is a representation of motors surrounding us, made up of a base globe, a cyclone of chicken wire, armatures, and dozens of simple electric motors built by Stephanie’s students. Stephanie, a nuclear physicist by training, was inspired by the artwork of Benjamin Von Wong. Benjamin Von Wong is notorious for epic photography designed to bring more attention to growing issues such as e-waste and pollution. His artwork drives conversation among everyone who sees it and ultimately inspire those viewing the work to become more active in improving the world.


As well as the artwork itself, the piece is about many things. It is about

  • educating the community about physics

  • inspiring younger generations to think multidisciplinary

  • bridging the gap between science and art

  • looking through the lens of visual art to make physics more accessible to the public

  • fostering creativity among scientists


We need creative scientists for continued innovation. Higher education is placing greater emphasis on taking tests, and creativity is on the decline. Even though creativity is innate, it needs to be cultivated. This kind of flexible project allows students to incorporate knowledge from other fields like architecture or design.  

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