May 06, 2009

Which Designs Should We Take to the Maker Faire?

Help us decide which of these designs to print as temporary tattoos. We'll be taking the top designs to the Maker Faire.

Which is your favorite? Which are your kids favorites? Help us decide.

Tell us what you think on our facebook page

March 20, 2009

Gearing Up For The Maker Faire 2009!

It's official! GalaxyGoo is taking The Cell Project to the Maker Faire again! We got our acceptance notice today.

So, now the planning and preparations begin! We had so much fun last year!

Would like to get involved? If so, please contact me at galaxygoo -at- gmail -dot- com, with "GalaxyGoo Cell Project" in the subject line. We're getting ready to move to a new web hosting company, so please use our gmail account until we're all settled into the new server.

Some of the things we need help with:

  • Volunteers to help set up and take down the booth
  • Volunteers to help staff the booth and help with the activity. We were very busy last year, and had a hard time keeping up with all the visitors to our booth.
  • photography during the event
  • Have you done the activity yourself? Take pictures of your cells and share your photos with us on flickr.
  • Donations are always welcome
  • Give the Cell Project to a teacher or a whole classroom!
  • Got an idea? Tell us about it!

December 06, 2008

Camera Ornaments

I found them! Glass Camera Ornaments!


We used to have a link to these in our Museum Shop, but the company who had them stopped carrying them and then closed down their affiliate program altogether. I still get emails, from time to time, from people asking where they might find these camera ornaments. Well, I just came across some in one of the many catalogs that get stuffed into my mailbox every day.

Please note, that clicking on the link above does NOT result in a donation to GalaxyGoo. I'm posting this purely as a courtesy.

If you'd like to support GalaxyGoo, please visit our Museum shop. I've personally selected items to feature, from our affiliate programs.

Want to be more direct? Make a donation, and help support the science education projects as GalaxyGoo.

April 28, 2008

Bay Area Maker Faire Education Day: Friday, May 2nd

The Maker Faire is fast approaching. In fact, it's this weekend!

This year, they're trying out something new. They've invited the Makers to start a day early, and to participate in a special day just for students and educators. Admission is free for Education Day!

That's right, if you're a teacher, and you'd like to come to a special open house just for educators, go sign up right now!

I'll be conducting a special workshop for teachers, on making cell models. If you're going to be there, please contact me so that I can be sure to have enough clay on had for you to do the workshop. Did I mention that teachers get in for free?!

The open house for teachers is scheduled for 4-6pm. Earlier in the day, I'll be doing some demonstrations for students, who will be there on field trips from school.

March 25, 2008

Get Your Tickets to the Maker Faire!

Come see us, and the Cell Project, at the Maker Faire! Ticket discounts end in April. Get your tickets now, so you don't have to pay full price at the door.

As the organizers say, the Maker Faire is

A two-day, family-friendly event that celebrates arts, crafts, engineering, science projects and the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset. It's for creative, resourceful folks who like to tinker and love to make things.
We call them Makers.

February 25, 2008

GalaxyGoo goes to The Maker Faire

That's right, GalaxyGoo's Cell Project was accepted to the Maker Faire! WooHooo! We just got official notice.

See me at Maker Faire!

February 21, 2008

Raising Science Literate Children

More and more, people ask how they can raise their children to be science literate. Maybe they'll grow up to be scientists, but that's not the point.

To be science literate means knowing how to ask questions, and to be flexible in thought. To look deeper than face value, and see what's going on in those gears behind the facade. To identify assumptions and be ready to let go of them when overwhelming evidence shows them to be incorrect. To be comfortable with some uncertainty.

To raise a science literate child is to share and encourage their explorations. To learn with them. To be honest when you don't know the answer, and brainstorm ways to find out. Nurture their curiosity and natural scientific talent.

Remember that science isn't about knowing things, but about finding out things. It's about exploration.

You don't have to do it all alone. Keep some great resource books around. The DK books are really wonderful, and beautifully illustrated. They're great for "looking up" something or just browsing. A great source for great science books for kids is the gift shop at science and natural history museums.

February 11, 2008

The Color of Spam, continued

I've made progress with Mathematica, and now have my code extracting ip addresses and dates from a mailbox and exporting the formatted data as an xml file. On the Flash side, I'm playing around with some display ideas. I'll post more on that later.


For an explanation of this code, please visit my new code-centric blog: underground flash.

January 16, 2008

Photography Electrified

Remember making sun prints as a kid? That cool paper, that would change color when left out in the sun? I used to love making patterns with leaves.

Robert Beutleman's work goes way beyond sun prints, even though he's using plants in contact with photo-sensative paper. After placing the subject on the paper, he runs an electric current through it. The results are remarkable.

His new show, A matter of scale, opens tomorrow (Jan 17th) at Spur Projects in Portolla, CA. There is an opening reception on January 17th, 2008 from 6 – 8 PM, at the gallery.


December 18, 2007

Eva Lee Show

Eva Lee is in a new Show, at the Wave Hill House in New York. If you're in the area, check it out.


October 25, 2007

Moo Cards! Flash on the Beach! and Mathematica!

The moo cards I ordered, to take to FOTB, arrived today! Yeah!


Looks like the conference is completely sold out! Wow! Really looking forward to it! I just hope my presentation stands up to all the other great sessions on the schedule. I'm having a great time preparing it! Atoms, and fractals, and algorithms...oh my!

Thanks to a temp license from Wolfram Research, I now have a copy of Mathematica installed on my laptop. Yeah! If you're going to FOTB, and you're curious, look for me at the conference.

September 18, 2007

GalaxyGoo on Zazzle

For a while, I've been keeping an eye on, and have finally taken the plunge. GalaxyGoo is now on!

What was the deciding factor? They have a special program for non-profits, and all sales will result in donations for GalaxyGoo programs. Once we got into the system, I was delighted with how easy it is to get up and running.

create & buy custom products at Zazzle

August 09, 2007

Keep It Simple -- Building Complexity From Simple Structures

My session description for Flash on the Beach is up. I'm going to have a lot of fun with this one!

The complexity of the universe and all of life is based on simple building blocks. A metal is a metal, no matter how many times you melt or pound it. It's the sub-atomic particles of each atom that determine its character, and how it interacts with others.

Computational objects can be modeled on this simplicity, and in this session we will explore examples from nature
and computational art, including the atom and fractals.

We'll look at some basic objects (both visual and code) and ask "what are it's sub-atomic particles?" Starting with these objects, we'll build up models of increasing complexity.

Attendees will get:

  • Inspirational examples from nature and science,
  • Confidence to jump in and start playing with AS3,
  • An appreciation for well encapsulated code and simplicity in code and design,
  • An introduction/overview of AS3 code samples that will be available online.

June 13, 2007

GalaxyGoo Flash-a-thon?

GalaxyGoo has participated in the Blogathon twice now. It's been a lot of fun and we posted some great experimental Flash projects.

It's time for us to spin off on our own, with a less hectic schedule and more community participation. I'm thinking that we should spread the posts out over a few weeks and encourage the community to post links to their adaptations. Perhaps we should arrange some nice prizes.

We need a name! Current candidates are "GalaxyGoo-a-thon" and "Flash-a-thon". Obviously, we need more ideas.

June 06, 2007

Where I'm stuck, with importing Mathematica FLV into Flash

Below is a short description of how I might import a video file into Flash. I wrote it to explain to the folks at Wolfram what I want to do with flv or swf files generated by Mathematica . I'm hoping that someone may have some insights on how to resolve the problem I'm having when working with the files generated by Mathematica in Flash. Please note that this is not a tutorial. If it was, I'd be a lot more careful about defining my terms and not leaving out any steps or details.

Continue reading "Where I'm stuck, with importing Mathematica FLV into Flash" »

June 04, 2007

Speaking At Flash On The Beach

I'm still thinking about what to present at Flash on the Beach, in November. I certainly want to have a lot of fun with this one. If I can get the details of exporting Mathematica generated swfs worked out with Wolfram, I may explore some of the possibilities that opens up.

Yes, I know I've already posted about this, but they sent me such a lovely graphic I had to post again.

Adobe needs a Science and Education Evangelist!

The scientific and education communities use Adobe products extensively. Does Adobe have an evangelist that serves their needs? If not, why?

I'd like to see Adobe doing more to meet the needs of scientists and educators. I'd like to see Adobe at the next AAAS national meeting, as exhibitors--a big booth with demonstrations of the current releases of Photoshop, Flash, and the rest. Introduce them to AS3 in'd be surprised how often I meet scientists/programmers who have no idea that Flash has a scripting language, let alone one with the capabilities of AS3!

Why do I want Adobe to do this? Because it will make my life a lot easier! Adobe now owns most of the software that I use in my work. The more scientists and educators know about Flash, the sooner I can get to the project brainstorming and development aspects of my work. We will all start to build even more compelling and useful learning tools.

May 14, 2007

My First Export to SWF, From Mathematica

A little while ago, I briefly posted about Mathematica 6 exporting to SWF. Well, I've had a little time to play with it, and must confess that I'm finding it difficult to focus on finishing a project, because there is always something interesting in the documentation to distract me.

I've set myself the task of exploring the export to SWF feature, and here's an early example. AT this point, all I've done is make some small modifications to provided examples.

My impressions, so far:

Some Good stuff:
1. A lot of power in a few lines of code! This example was created in about 4 lines.
2. Wonderfully simple programming interface--I've always loved that about Mathematica.
3. Amazingly easy to go from evaluating a function to producing an interactive animation of it (even if the swf export doesn't have the interaction part).
4. Nice range of color palettes to choose from, and easy to apply. (I need to research how to add custom palettes).

Some Problems:
1. The resulting swf is huge! 3.27mb!
2. There is no interactivity in the swf - it runs automatically, even though there is a slider visible. (within Mathematica there is a lot of interaction with the example).
3. The swf does not support the 3d rotation of rendered object, which is present in the Mathematica interface.
4. The swf appears to be frame-by-frame animation of stills, rather than making use of any of the Flash drawing api.

Because the file is so big, I've posted it to the extended entry, instead of the main body, of this post. I've also posted a screenshot of the Mathematica notebook file, used to create this swf.

Continue reading "My First Export to SWF, From Mathematica" »

May 09, 2007

To Blogathon or not to Blogathon?

In past years, GalaxyGoo's participation in the Blogathon has been a lot of fun and resulted in collections of cool Flash experiments and their source files. Participants post every 30 minutes, for 24 hours. It's certainly a marathon.

I'm thinking that GalaxyGoo should go independent, and modify the program a bit. Scheduling daily bursts, for a week or two, instead of the 24 hour marathon. That would give our readers time to participate as well. I'd love to see variations on the posted source files.

May 07, 2007

Emotions Projected Into 3D Space

"Using data from EEG readings of the twelve subjects during five emotional states (anger, joy, fear, sadness, and disgust), artist Eva Lee and composer Manly Romero have created a visual and auditory journey through the discrete terrain of subjective experience."

Eva Lee is one of my favorite artists, and I wish I was in the area so that I could see the installation. If you're nearby, be sure to check it out, at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. She'll be giving a talk on July 27th.

The museum is located at 600 Main Street, Hartford, CT.

March 16, 2007

Photos from Family Science Days

Some photos of our booth, from the professional photographer who covered the whole conference. The kids were really into it. I think some of the parents wished there was enough room for them to play, too.

GalaxyGoo at AAAS Family Science Days ( photo1 | photo2 | photo3 )

We've also started a Cell Project Flickr group, and we're hoping to see a whole bunch of cell models showing up.

February 15, 2007

Stage Show Schedule at Family Science Days

The Stage Show Schedule is posted for the Family Science Days, and the Mythbusters are first up on Saturday! I think I have a view of the stage from the GalaxyGoo booth, and I'm looking forward to their show. It would be cool if they'd stop by our booth, and pose for a photo with me. Even better, wearing GalaxyGoo T-shirts :-)

GalaxyGoo's booth is sponsored by Adobe. Also, thanks to the generosity of Friends of Ed, we have some great books to give away. Peter was kind enough to send some copies of New Masters of Flash 3 and LEGO Mindstorms NXT: The Mayan Adventure.

Stage Show Schedule

AAAS Family Science Days
San Francisco Hilton
11:00 AM — 5:00 PM

Saturday, 17 February
11:00 AM "The Mythbusters: Jamie Savage and Adam Hyneman" — The Science Channel
Noon "BioBug: Field to Fuel" — University of Idaho
12:45 PM "Iron Science" — The Exploratorium
1:30 PM "Fun with Science and Astronomy" — The Zula Patrol and KQED Kids!
2:15 PM AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books: Awards ceremony
3:15 PM "Waves in Nature: Lasers to Tsunamis and Beyond" — Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
4:00 PM "The Outreach Roadshow" — Women@SCS Outreach Roadshow, Carnegie Mellon University

Sunday, 18 February
11:00 AM "Name that Mammal!" — Platypus Media
11:45 AM "The Science Hour of Power" — Sikes Science
12:30 PM "Global Warming Discovery" — ClimateChangeEducation.Org
1:15 PM "The Science of Yo-Yos" — Yomega Corp.
2:00 PM "BioBug: Field to Fuel" — The University of Idaho
2:45 PM "Cloud Nine" — How The Weatherworks™
3:30 PM "Robotics: The Next 10 Years" — The Robotics Society of America and San Francisco State University
4:15 PM "Kinetic City" — AAAS

February 07, 2007

How did you learn Flash?

Often, I'm asked how I "learned Flash". I don't always know how to answer, since I don't think the way I learned it would work out for others. I also started programming before I even knew Flash existed.

People learning Flash, have a big challenge in finding good material amid all the noise. Some of the material really frustrates me. In fact, I recently had an "argument" with someone who wants to teach the old "on()" event model to high school students, instead of teaching best practices. For a lot of people, ActionScript is their first programming language, and I don't think it's a good idea to teach an outmoded event model that they will have to unlearn before they can make real progress in Flash.

What resources do you point people to, when they're starting out? Do you think there is a shortage of online resources that help people start out, with a solid foundation that prepares them to continue on?

Hand-drawn visualization

Visualization techniques have always been important in mathematics and its applications, and they are especially so nowadays as sophisticated computer graphics enhance our ability to interpret phenomena we could not imagine a generation ago. But you can only really appreciate what the computer is showing you if you've tried to render the curves and surfaces freehand. Almost all of my students get the hang of it well enough to draw a pretty good surface, and some display a particular talent for illustrating mathematical ideas. - from The Best Homework Ever?

More by the subject of the above article.

GalaxyGoo Happy Hour, Rescheduled for Friday the 23rd

The next GalaxyGoo Happy Hour is scheduled for Friday, Feb 23rd. If you're interested in joining us, drop me a line either in the comments here or with our contact form.

Better yet, RSVP on the page for the event: GalaxyGoo Happy Hour

I love the Theatre!

I love theatre!

I love being in the audience. I love being on the stage. I love the mechanics of lights and sets, and the magic of it all!

Tonight was special. At the San Francisco Ballet, I was treated to a backstage tour of the theatre, before settling into my seat for the show (which was amazing!). It reminded me about how much I love working with Flash. It reminded me how much I love working with the moving parts. Change the lighting, so that an element you hadn't noticed before is suddenly vibrant and alive. That's theatre! That's story telling. That's art.

The artistry of Ballet speaks to me. Ballet is an art and discipline that strives to make the difficult seem easy. The physical power required for what appears to be simple, is amazing. To me, a well designed project appears simple on the surface.

I know I can't recreate the drama of Ballet in my work. But I can be inspired by it. There is always the possibility, at the Ballet, that someone will fall. This unpredictability adds an element of suspense to the performance. When a dangerous lift is begun, the audience collectively pauses breath and exhales together only when the dancer's feet touch the stage again. Is he going to drop her? Will they hold on? If it's the winter season...will she fall on the snow?

I'm wondering how I can bring unpredictability, in a satisfying manner, to my own work. So much in the world of media is safe and sanitized. The communal, low risk, experience of live theatre is absent from our day to day lives. I shall have to ponder this.

February 05, 2007

Reflecting on IM2.3 at Apple

I'm still recovering from the Image and Meaning workshop I attended last week. Gotta say that our hosts at Apple took wonderful care of us. It's very heartening to know that a big company like Apple, is taking an active role in supporting this work. But then, with a visionary leader like Felice Frankel, it's only natural that Image and Meaning is attracting such support.

The Image and Meaning phenomenon is unlike anything I've ever experienced. My brain will continue percolating this intense, and extremely positive collaborative experience for quite some time. I think it's safe to say that all of the participants are passionate about visually communicating scientific information, and that we are equally concerned with the accuracy of that communication.

The workshop was remarkably interdisciplinary. What does that mean? In my workshop group, we had physicists, artists, biologists, computer scientists, and more. Many of us fell into multiple disciplines, as individuals. To me, "interdisciplinary" also means that I rarely got the "I have a PhD" dropped on me, when someone wanted me to take their words as more heavily weighted than anyone else's (including my own). We were all participants, and were not segregated into groups of "speakers" and "listeners".

It doesn't seem possible that it all took place in under two full days, and I can't wait to do it again! I'm all fired up and eager to take on new challenges.

January 31, 2007

Science and Technology week on The Daily Show?

Is it Science and Technology week over at the Daily Show? On Monday, John Stewart interviewed Bill Gates...who made a hasty departure.

Tuesday night, Mr Stewart interviewed Neil DeGrasse Tyson... who stuck around and gave a wonderful interview. Could Dr Tyson be breathing new life into Carl Segan's legacy? He sure makes Astrophysics seem very down to earth. I especially liked the way he talked about how "calculations" make things easy. The really is truth in that.

Off topic...could somebody talk to the folks at Comedy Central, and tell them to make their website more user friendly? Just getting a simple link to add to this post was a pain to accomplish.

January 29, 2007

GalaxyGoo at AAAS Family Science Days

GalaxyGoo will be at the AAAS - Annual Meeting Family Science Days! Feb 17-18. Exhibit Hall at the AAAS Annual Meeting, San Francisco Hilton.

We'll be demonstrating some of the off-screen activities from our Cell Project. My favorite is building Cell models out of clay, and looking at the cross-sections. So bring your family along and play! Admission is free!

I hope our booth has a view of the stage, because there are a number of presentations I want to see, espcially by the Mythbusters and Iron Science (from the Exploratorium).

GalaxyGoo's participation in this exciting event was made possible by the efforts of Simon Conlin and the support of Adobe. Thank you!

January 09, 2007

Saturn, Earth, and the 10 Best Astronomical Pictures of 2006

One more best of list from the past year: Top Ten Astronomy Images of 2006. Including this fabulous backlit image of Saturn from Cassini, with Earth shining faintly from behind the rings.

Cassini composite image of Saturn backlit by the Sun, including Earth visible through the rings

Continue reading "Saturn, Earth, and the 10 Best Astronomical Pictures of 2006" »

January 04, 2007

Sudoku, GalaxyGoo Style

I was working on a sudoku puzzle for the upcoming GalaxyGoo newsletter, when I realized that GalaxyGoo has nine letters in it. So, just for fun, I converted this original puzzle into a GalaxyGoo sudoku puzzle. Instead of the usual numbers (1-9), the letters in GalaxyGoo are arranged in the rows and columns of the grid. I'm guessing that the repeating letters (G, A, and O) will make the puzzle easier to solve. (update: no it doesn't) So, print it up, give it a try, and have fun.

Page with puzzle in three versions: numbers, chemistry symbols, and repeating letters.

GalaxyGoo Sudoku

January 02, 2007

Image and Meaning Workshop

Next month, I head down to Cupertino for a great workshop: Image and Meaning, A collaborative exploration to discover new visual expressions in science and technology.

If you saw me typing this, you might get the impression that I'm very calm about's just that I'm thrilled, beyond excitement and into calm, about getting accepted to the workshop. In case you're curious, for my application, I submitted my bird flu project.

November 26, 2006

New GalaxyGoo Designs: Fossils on Dark Shirts

We've added new designs, and long-sleeved shirts, to our CafePress shop. My favorite is the blue deinonychus fossils on brown for women, and on navy for men.

November 16, 2006

Visiting Pixar

What a great day! My family and I were treated to a tour of Pixar Animation Studios. Being a geek, I couldn't pass up an opportunity to learn and ask questions, and I managed to learn a little bit about how the folks at Pixar approach a project.

What struck me most was how much work goes into tangible art at the studios, before anything happens on a computer. There were so many hand-drawn pieces on the walls.

Another thing that really impressed me was the use of color as part of story-telling. On a landing in the atrium, there was a wall filled with a color-script (I think that's what it was called) for "The Incredibles". Basically, it was a series of panels for each scene in the movie and showing how color themes move through the story--A static overview of color schemes progressing from scene to scene in movie. I was told this is one of the first things they do when starting a project. Very interesting.


November 13, 2006

Peekabootique Now Supporting GalaxyGoo with T-shirts

I'm excited to announce that Peekabootique is now carrying GalaxyGoo t-shirts. Proceeds will support GalaxyGoo, and our educational projects.

How'd this happen? Our t-shirts were a big hit at the Noe Valley Harvest Festival. This didn't escape the notice of Peekabootique's owners, who were looking for a local artist to work with to develop lines for their store. After a short series of talks, it was aggreed that Peekabootique would carry the currently available t-shirts and that we would work to develop new designs and packaging. While I can't go into any details, all designs will be science and math related.
GalaxyGoo booth at the Noe Valley Harvest Festival, 2006 GalaxyGoo T-shirts at Peekabootique

Peekabootique is located at 1306 Castro Street (at 24th Street), in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco.

November 10, 2006

Earth Seen From Space Exhibit

Earth From Space Exhibit, looks like a fascinating collection of images. Complementing the traveling exhibit, the Earth from Space online exhibit is a lot of fun to explore. It's amazing how much the Lena Delta image looks like highly vascularized tissue.

I love the zooming feature, but there are some usability issues. When zooming in, it would be nice to have some indication that more data is loading (without relying on my browser to tell me that). Other than that, I can't find anything to really complain about.

November 02, 2006

I'm Famous! ....sort of.

The folks at Adobe surprised me this summer. They said they wanted to feature my work in the Adobe Design Center Gallery. I was thrilled...and who am I to pass up such great publicity?!

I had a lot of fun creating the piece, and I hope you enjoy it:
Adobe Design Center Gallery Featured Artist: Kristin Henry

October 31, 2006

The Mathematics Calendar Is Back!

The Mathematics Calendar is back for 2007!

Every day, a new math problem...since the answer is always given, the fun part is figuring out how that could be the answer. If that's not enough to make you want one, hanging one in your work-space is sure to make you look smart!


This fantastic calendar is the work of Theoni Pappas, author of The Joy of Mathematics and many other friendly math books.

October 12, 2006

Playing with Flickr and Moo cards

I'm addicted to Flickr! They've created so many of the features that I'd like to implement on GalaxyGoo: file sharing, groups, tags, connection to physical world (like Moo cards).

One of my explorations of flickr involves getting Moo cards made. I've been having fun with the cards, and uploading pix if patterns I can create with them.

In this one, I've recreated the complete mandala pattern by arranging the cards in a spiral stack.


Here, I've used cards with different cropping of the original image. Overlapping them, so that the plesiosaur pattern is completed, creates variations in color bands. Yes, I'm having too much fun with this.

My two-year-old wanted to get in on the action, and picked up the card matching the t-shirt she'd been wearing all day.

October 01, 2006

GalaxyGoo Dinosaurs

GalaxyGoo will be at the Noe Valley Harvest Festival, on October 21. If you're going to be in the neighborhood, stop by our booth, and say "hi"! It's a great family-focused street fair, here in San Francisco.

There were so many little kids at last year's festival, that we decided to design some cool dinosaur T-shirts for this year. My favorite may be the Plesiosaurs, but I also like the Deinonychus patterns a lot. The fossils look like they're chasing each other around in a circle, and the black-on-white one reminds me of South Western pottery.


September 15, 2006

Where are the Women Speakers at Flash Conferences?

Every time I speak at a Flash conference, I'm asked how to find female speakers. Well, Ann-Marie, over at FlashGoddess has taken steps to make this easier for everybody, with the new (and growing) Flash Goddess Women Speakers Listing. Personally, I'm thrilled to be on this list.

August 22, 2006

Through the Green Fuse--Art Show


This Friday (Aug 25), Through the Green Fuse opens at The Pesidio Club of San Francisco/ Officer's Club Exhibition Hall. Plants + Insects Art + Science: two photographer's contrasting looks at nature. Robert Buelteman and Edward S. Ross.

Looks like a fascinating show, and family friendly too. There is a gallery in the exhibit space called "The Hive", with hands-on activities for kids and parents. I'm looking forward to exploring it with my kids.

August 11, 2006

Quantum Man

According to quantum physics, the world is fundamentally quite different than it seems. For example, instead of having well-defined boundaries, every object turns out to really have fuzzy edges. Related to that, matter has a wave-like quality associated with its motion. Quantum physics describes a moving object as consisting of waves oriented perpendicular to its direction of motion. Drawing inspiration from that image, artist Julian Voss-Andreae has created an image of a walking human as a quantum object.

I've been a fan of Julian's work for some time now, and he continually impresses me, but I think this is my new favorite. Julian was kind enough to provide three views of the piece, and I added the transitions in an attempt to shift your view from one perspective to the next instead of presenting them as a choppy slide-show.

July 27, 2006

Murals of San Francisco

San Francisco has some great murals, and it seems like there are new ones all the time. If you pay attention, you might even see one in-the-works.

Several weeks ago, my family and I enjoyed watching the progress of this botanical mural on Church Street at 22nd Street. The artist had some small flyers out with the address of her website, so I was able to pick one up while walking by--very nice meeting of real-life and the web.

Mona Caron - Botanical Mural

July 20, 2006

Dance is mathematics in motion.

Ballet is mathematics in motion. It's not just the counting, it's the calculus of carving out space with precision and passion.

Why am I all fired up about ballet? A friend of mine arranged a visitor pass for me, to a rehearsal at the San Francisco Ballet, and I just got back to my office. Wow! That was such an inspiring experience.

At one point, the choreographer told a dancer to "feel the shape". This really struck me, and I noticed that I could see the dancers defining the shape of space around them. Would I have picked up on that if I hadn't studied ballet for years, as a child? Maybe. Maybe not.

Very few children who study ballet ever become professionals. Does this mean that it's a waste of time for the children who don't "make it"? Not at all. That's not the point. By learning the fundamentals, they also learn discipline and hard work. If they have good teachers, they find their art. They add a new dimension to the shape of their lives.

Much the same can be said of science and mathematics. Not everybody can be a professional scientist, but it's still important for everybody to understand the fundamentals. By learning how to think critically, people learn how to evaluate what they're told. They learn to think for themselves. They learn how to control the shape of their lives.

May 08, 2006

Protein Sculptures: Life's Building Blocks Inspire Art

Julian Voss-Andreae is giving a talk on Wednesday, here in San Francisco. Julian is amazing scientist-turned-artist. If you were following our Art Intersect Science show last Fall, you may recognize his name from the list of contributing artists.

Artist/Scientist Julian Voss-Andreae will give a slide presentation titled "Protein Sculptures: Life's Building Blocks Inspire Art" at a public meeting of YLEM, a group of artists using science and technology.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006 at 7.30pm

RX Gallery and Bar (21 and over)
132 Eddy St. , San Francisco , CA 94102
Two blocks from Powell St. BART Station. Suggested donation sliding scale $5-10.

Information from the event flyer follows...

Continue reading "Protein Sculptures: Life's Building Blocks Inspire Art" »

April 25, 2006

The Pirate Shop Supports Writing Program

826 Valencia: The Writing Center helps kids develop their writing skills. A worthy goal, but how do they fund it?

With a pirate store! Yep, that's right, they run a store full of eye patches and pirate hats to fund their literacy projects.

For years now, while making small-talk at parties, the pirate store comes up almost every time the nature of my work is mentioned. The first time I heard of 826 Valencia and The Pirate Shop, was at a conference for non-profits. It was a session on the emerging earned income strategy, in the world of dwindling traditional funding sources. The whole idea of a store selling pirate-themed toys to support a program was crazy and brilliant. It works! Can it be duplicated? Maybe not, but it can inspire new ideas.

The key is to connect something that people want with something they want to support -- make it easier to satisfy the drive to "do good". Along these lines, I've been looking for things GalaxyGoo could offer to the feel-good market space.

This past November, we organized an amazing art show with works inspired by math and science. It was a successful show, but didn't raise a large amount of money or stir up a buzz in the local media. Why? I think that perhaps the ticket price on most of the pieces was outside the budget of our community of supporters. The Pirate Store is filled with inexpensive items, and they sell a lot of them.

But why no media buzz? Maybe we need to work on a smaller scale and get people more familiar and comfortable with the intersection of art and science. Reach out with something that they can hold onto. One thing we could do is to offer appealing products through services like and

November 28, 2005


Dee Breger, Director of Microscopy at Drexel University, sent me some great images to help promote the auction of the Guided Session with a Scanning Electron Microscope that she donated to Art Intersect Science.

Please note that these images are protected by copyright and may not be used for any purpose without written permission from Breger.

The first is a micrograph of a fossil Antarctic radiolarian, "siliceous shell of a one-celled animal from the sediments of the Ross Sea near Antarctica."
Fossil Antarctic Radiolarian

Multiphase Micromineral: This tiny microscape was formed by three lead-silicate minerals from Franklin NJ, the site of more minerals than are known anywhere else on earth. The oldest Franklin minerals date back one billion years. Micromineral

And finally, a photograph of the "camera" itself--the scanning electron microscope. Yes, that whole thing is the microscope. Photo by T. Baker.
Scanning Electron Microscope

November 20, 2005

Neural Net

Does this image remind you of a node garden or a neural network? It should, because it actually is a neural network. These particular nerve cells are called ciliary ganglion, and the image is the result of scientific research into the effects of early exposure to nicotine. Dr Phyllis Pugh, was kind enough to donate the piece to the show and benefit auction.

neural network

Bidding is currently open on this piece at the Art Intersect Science online benefit auction.

November 18, 2005

Cycle of Lives Under the Leaves

Cycle of lives under the leaves is an amazing work by internationally acclaimed glass artists Akiko Isono. She creates an ecosystem complete with mushrooms, worms, and sprouts...all within a 1inch spherical glass bead.


I first discovered Ms Isono's work in 1000 Glass Beads: Innovation & Imagination in Contemporary Glass Beadmaking. When she agreed to donate a piece to Art Intersect Science, I was thrilled. When the package arrived, I was stunned and happy to find that she had sent two versions of the bead: one with pink mushrooms and one with blue mushrooms.

Bidding is currently open for both pieces at the online benefit auction.

November 11, 2005

Art Intersect Science--Show Extended

If you missed the show, there's still time to get a look at this wonderful collection of art. The show has been extended for another week, and will be up until next Wednesday.

The gallery has two floors, so be sure to go downstairs and see the whole show.

Lucid is at 580 Sutter, about a two blocks from Union Square. Their website hasn't been updated, so the last show is still listed as "currently showing".

The event--first impressions

I just got home from the Art Intersect Science event, and I want to write down some of my initial reflections on the event.

First of all, I have to give applause to the artists who made the whole show. Without their genius and generosity none of this would be possible.

Next item: the music was perfect! Wendy De Rosa gave the perfect performance--not quite background, but not dominating the experience. She enriched the whole event. Her performance was so perfect that people upstairs were surprised to know that it was a live performance and came downstairs when they realized it was live... when she spoke between songs.

The food! Oh my goodness! The appetizers from the Ritz-Carlton disappeared before I had a chance to make my way over to the table. I heard that they were very, very, tasty, but they were gone before I could taste any of them. I was very busy and couldn't get there for almost two hours into the event. The Westin St. Francis and the 24th Street Cheese Company both provided ample platters of tasty treats, which I did get to taste. Yum, yum, yum! The plate from the Cheese company had these yummy spicy olives on it. I'll have to ask them what they were, because I can't recall tasting them before, and they were just fantastic!

Perhaps I have saved the best for last: the art! It was wonderful to see people with the art. I've been amazed by the pieces as they came in, one by one. Seeing them all together, hung in the gallery, was an altogether different experience. I saw myself as a curator for the first time. It has been an honor to be the central organizing point, that these amazing artists contributed their works to. If I could, I would keep all of the art for myself. Every piece is remarkable.

My favorite part of the whole night, was when I got the chance to go around the gallery with a guest and explain why I thought each piece was brilliant. After some discussion, I've decided to write up these thoughts. Over the next several weeks I will try to write about as many of the art works as time permits.

November 04, 2005

Visual Art and the Brain: At the Interface of Art and Science

Are you in the New York area? There's a fantastic one-day conference going on tomorrow (Saturday, Nov 5) on Visual Art and the Brain: At the Interface of Art and Science.

Barbara Tversky, one of the speakers and my fellow co-pi on an upcoming project, gave me the heads-up on the event. Barbara is a cognitive psychologist, and has written some very interesting research papers on science visualizations and learning. I'll be posting my informal reflections on these and other papers soon.

November 03, 2005

It's up! The show is up!

After months of preparation and hours of hanging the pieces in the gallery, Art Intersect Science is up. It's quite a thrill to put together a show like this, and see it all on the walls of a gallery.

October 31, 2005

Online Bidding for Art Intersect Science now live

Just uploaded some updates to the Art Intersect Science event pages. This includes links to the online bidding service that will be handling the bids for the auction.

Additionally, because we were able to find some great sponsors for the event, admission is free. Please note that Lucid Gallery is a 21-and-over venue. Catering is being donated by The Ritz-Carlton, the Westin St. Francis, and the 24th Street Cheese Company.

A few more pieces are expected to arrive this week. Anne-Marie Pochat brought her piece all the way from France, and delivered it in person today. She will be attending the event on the 10th.

October 14, 2005

Bid on a Session with a Scanning Electron Microscope

Have you ever wondered how images of microscopic structures (like pollen) are created? Or how to use a scanning electron microscope? Well, now's your chance, as an exciting item in the Art Intersect Science auction.

Internationally acclaimed photomicrographer Dee Breger offers an hour's demonstration of a top-of-the-line scanning electron microscope (SEM) at Drexel University's Materials Characterization Facility in Philadelphia PA, including basic hands-on operation on a sample of choice by the successful bidder, at a mutually convenient day and time. Breger is Director of Microscopy at Drexel, a university that is renowned for its College of Engineering. The SEM session will also result in at least one micrograph of the sample as a Tiff file saved to CD.

Details on how to bid on this and other items in the auction will be posted soon.

October 11, 2005

Art Show listed on

I've posted an announcement about Art Intersect Science on, and already there are a couple of people "watching" the event. Ok, call me a geek, but I think that's cool. Art Intersect Science: Art Show and Benefit Event at Lucid (Thursday, November 10, 2005)

October 10, 2005

Guinness and evolution

Well, the Guinness company certainly has an amusing take on evolution...'boards - Screening Room

~via my sister :-)

August 23, 2005

Interview with Bob Crimi: Part One

This is the first part of an ongoing interview with Bob Crimi, Science Illustrator and Artist. Don't miss the introduction to the interview.

KH: Do you have a background in science?

BC: My initial training was in fine art. I came from a family of fine artists with my father and uncle both being muralists and easel painters. In the 1930s they were employed by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) to do murals in post offices and hospitals.

I grew up around brushes and oil paints and imagined that everyone else did. When I was a teenager, I began to study with my uncle, Alfred Crimi, in his studio in Greenwich Village in Manhattan.

It was an atelier style of education. I learning the craft of art; drawing from the antique, painting, framing, gilding, and grinding pigments to make oil and fresco paints.

At the same time I trained as an illustrator for a technical publishing house that produced repair and maintenance manuals for the U.S. government. There, I learned to create drawings of mechanical equipment from orthographic blueprints that showed the different sides of the equipmenta conceptual exercise; the parts were drawn exploded out as though they were floating in space.

KH: Can you tell us a bit more about technical drawings? How did you mentally assemble the blueprints into an object and then draw it?

BC: The blueprints depicted three or four flat views of mechanical equipment. From the information conveyed by these views, I was able to visualize a three-dimensional object.

Using proportional dividers, triangles and ellipse guides I created an exploded view in isometric drawing, a drawing done on 30 angle. The pencil drawing was then traced onto blue vellum; not vellum at all but very finely woven bleached linen that was coated with blue sizing.

This made an extremely smooth surface. Id spread pounce, a fine powder, onto the surface of the linen in order to smooth out the tooth. When wiped away, it allowed the ink to flow smoothly.

The ink mixed somewhat with the sizing but could be erased with the integrity of the linen maintained. The tracing of the image was done with a Wrico Pen (brand name) and India ink.


August 22, 2005

5 More artists join the Art of Science

Over the weekend, five more artists confirmed their participation in GalaxyGoo's Art of Science.

August 18, 2005

How to make a Pop-up...a Paper Pop-up !

Have you ever wondered how artists engineer the paper in pop-up books? On his web site, best selling children's illustrator, Robert Sabuda, gives step-by-step photo-illustrated instructions on how to create 18 simple pop-ups.

Mr Sabuda is also co-author of one of the coolest dinosaur books I've ever seen. Released this month, Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs: The Definitive Pop-Up, is indeed definitive. Every page has little pockets of additional a treasure chest full of little bags of gems.

August 15, 2005

GalaxyGoo's Art of Science Event Page

We've launched a simple event page for The Art of Science: Art Auction Benefit Event 2005. As more details are set, in the months leading up to the November event, we'll update and expand the page.

July 28, 2005

Tessa Coe: Science Inspired Art

While in the UK, I had the pleasure of meeting artist extroardinaire Tessa Coe. If you saw her work you'd probably be drawn to the colors and complexity. The images are organized chaos, yet soothing to the eye.

Where does she get her inspiration? On her website, she writes "I am fascinated by things that are far too small for us to see, where scientists have to deduce what is actually going on, and use their visual imagination to help simplify great complexity."

Of particular interest, I think, are the Biology Series (1 & 2), and the Mathematics series.