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2022 SciArt LAB + STUDIO (Session B)
That's a wrap!

Sci|Art Lab+Studio Summer Institute offers
a cutting-edge, 4-credit lab/studio course to High School students on methodologies for applying the scientific method and creative processes as complementary tools for art, design and innovation.

This summer we had two UCLA Sci Art two sessions -- on site and online! Students completed a 10 week undergraduate course in 10 days with spectacular results. Two professors, five instructors, three teaching assistants and 10 lecturers were on hand making it happen. This is STEAM reconfigured and in action: Science Technology Ecology Arts and Mindfulness!

 

SESSION B (VIRTUAL) July 11, 2022 – July 22, 2022
On Day 1 we received introductions from the directors of the program Dr. Jim Gimzewski and Victoria Vesna, who discussed their personal work and the overlap between art and science. We then learned more about the lead instructor, Ivy Lovett, and the teaching assistant, Sunaina Bose. The students also acquired a knowledge of how to keep a sketchbook/lab book in a lecture given by Ivy Lovett & Alvaro Azcarraga. To end the day, students were prompted to draw objects in their environment and observe their scientific properties in their sketchbooks.
On Day 2 we focused our discussions on the fundamental properties of nanoscience and nanotechnologies. Dr. Victoria Vesna - the director of the program - gave us an astonishing talk on the topic 'Graphite and Graphene' and their implications to the present day, and a workshop using only pencils and paper to further convey this concept. We then delved deeper into this topic through lectures led by two profound figures, Dr. Adam Stieg and Dr. Vuk Uskokovic. With this understanding, students used their microscopes to observe the world around them on a nanoscale.
CNSI Lab Tours

We got an exclusive, virtual tour of many of California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) labs to highlight the topics discussed above, including the Advanced Light Microscopy/Spectroscopy (ASML) lab and saw how super resolution optical microscopes like the stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscope operates with a demo examining a stained ascaris worm and the different dyes that differentiate and characterize the properties of a biological specimen. We also visited the Electron Imaging Center for NanoMachines (EICN) and got to see a Titan transmission electron microscope automatically imaging biological samples capable of achieving atomic resolution. Lastly, we visited the Nano & Pico Characterization (NPC) lab and got to see an atomic force microscope scanning a sample in real time and how mild vibrational noises can directly influence a sensitive measurement.
Day 3 started with an informative lecture led by Aisen Caro Chacin about bio art and the relationship between technology and humans. This was followed by a lively lecture and workshop by Alvaro Azcarraga about herbariums and scientific colonialism. This warmed everyone up for an enjoyable workshop on sidewalk herbariums, where students explored their environments and collected weeds. This was followed by a lecture led by Mick Lurosso about eco-sensing, which focused on the microbiome phenomenon, the complex interactions in our bodies, and how these invisible species might impact our behaviors and feelings. Finally, students were given a virtual tour by Dr. Victoria Sork in UCLA’s  botanical garden.
On Day 4 we moved on to another adventurous pathway and learned more about the convergence of art and technology. The day started out with a workshop on art, creativity and technology conducted by Ivy Lovett: 'Sculpting with Digital Debris'. After delving into the history of assemblage and its integration into the digital era, Ivy taught the students how to source 3D objects and how to implement these assembled sculptures in augmented reality. Learning the language of 'Remote Sensing' was another limitless shared topic on Day 4, elaborated by Caltech alumni Shane Houchin.
We spent Day 5 learning about astronomy and astrophysics, starting with a lecture given by Dr. Santiago Torres, who opened up a new window before our eyes and guided us through the fundamentals of the universe. The day got more fascinating when the students explored Victoria Vesna’s multimedia project, ‘[Alien] Star Dust’, and participated in a meditation and interacted with meteorites in augmented reality. This was followed by David Roy, a visual artist and educator based in LA. He gave us a talk about his art practices involving rockets and his space program he founded called, BLACKNASA. Then, to wrap up the first week of the course, students drew diagrams connecting the topics they learned so far.
Moving on to more wonders of integrated disciplines, Day 6 started out with a fundamental lecture by Dr. Jim Gimzewski: 'Music and Quantum Mechanics'. During this day, students got to learn theoretical as well as practical skills in making sounds, and explore waves in various forms in their environment. The opportunity of experimenting with audio technology and creating audio pieces happened through a thrilling workshop by Ivana Dama: 'Deep Listening'. 
We spent Day 7 brainstorming and recollecting everything learned in the program so far, and pitching proposals for final projects. Collaborating in teams, students formed a concept and presented them to the instructors to receive feedback and suggestions. To finish the day, students participated in a passionate lecture and workshop led by Ema Koh about artificial intelligence and bias.
We started Day 8 off with an intriguing lecture on Victoria Vesna’s, ‘HOX Zodiac’, a project exploring the genetic diversity amongst animals through Chinese zodiacs, giving students the opportunity to research their own zodiacs. Afterwards, students continued to work on their final project, receiving feedback from the instructors. This brainstorming session was followed by an informative lecture on biology research by Dr. Sam LoCascio about CRISPR and Genetic Engineering.
We spent Day 9 working on the final projects - the instructors and TA helped students to think out of the box and imagine the non-imaginary solutions in the process of working on their proposals. Jeremy Kamal joined as the last speaker to add a bit of his magic to the bowl! Harvard alumni Jeremy Kamal, gave a retrospective talk about his creative practices as a way of exploring relationships between blackness, culture, and ecology. To wrap up this topic, students were prompted to use their microscopes to compare and contrast a natural and manmade object found in their environment. 
Spending two intensive weeks working, learning, discovering, and observing  different aspects of art, science and technology, students presented their final projects in 3 groups on the last day of the program. Each group focused on an issue and suggested solving the issue through the lenses  of art, science and technology! 
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