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Art and physics collide at Niels Bohr

A new light sculpture transmits live signals from the Large Hadron Collider experiment in Switzerland to Niels Bohr Institute's facade on Blegdamsvej

Hundreds of LED bulbs on the outside of Nils Bohr Institute (NBI) in Blegdamsvej will transmit live signals from particle collisions at the Large Hadron Collider physics experiment in CERN, Switzerland.

See pictures from the Colliderscope opening event here.

The new art installation, called NBI Colliderscope, is the work of artists Christian Skeel and Morten Skriver, in collaboration with Niels Bohr researchers Clive Ellegaard and Troels C. Petersen.

See the article God is sabotaging the Large Hadron Collider here.

Close ties

The light sculpture symbolises the close ties between NBI and the CERN project. The creators also hope to raise interest in the experiment and in the natural sciences in general.

The LHC is a 27 km underground tunnel in which subatomic particles are collided at great speed. These collisions are registered by huge detectors which generate the data now to be transmitted visually by the Colliderscope light display.

Particle light show

The intensity and speed at which the diodes illuminate and fade is determined by the mass and energy of the particles collided. The pathway of the particle will determine which bulbs light up.

See the article God shuffles the cards for CERN here.

The artists behind NBI Colliderscope have previously collaborated with NBI on a project called Interference, where chaos theory, among other things, was the inspiration for wall murals and other works which combine art with elements from the world of the natural sciences.

Christian Skeel, one of the creators of the light sculpture, explains that he is fascinated by pure research, because »both researchers and artists seek to describe the full scope of existence«.

Whereas researchers attempt to explain the rules that apply to physics, Skeel feels is driven to unite these explanations with a sensual and everyday approach to reality.

In his artwork, Christian Skeel seeks to »cleanse everyday life, so that everything that does not belong in the picture is removed«. He says that when this is successful, it leaves a »simple impression which everyone can understand, as opposed to quantum physics, which no one understands«.

»I believe that theory must be combined with images if it is to be understandable,« he explains.

The installation, which is funded by The Danish Arts Agency, Velux Fonden and the Niels Bohr Fund, will be lighting up the front of NBI’s building on Blegdamsvej until 2011.