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Notes from the Lab


Beauty is everywhere in science but not always visible to the naked eye. Felice Frankel, artist-in-residence at MIT's Edgerton Center and lecturer in electrical engineering and computer science, is attempting to remedy this through photographs, using visual beauty to investigate and communicate science.

A Guggenheim Fellowship is supporting work on a book of her images, On the Surface of Things, which shows the physics, chemistry and biology that occurs at surfaces, such as oxidation, light diffraction and fluorescence. Her work has appeared in several scientific publications including Science (the August 4 cover), Cellular Biology and Nature.

She has photographed synthetic polymer gels, the subject of research by MIT physics professor Toyoichi Tanaka, and nanocrystallites (inorganic solids containing up to thousands of atoms) for Professor of Chemistry Moungi Bawendi, which appears in the 1995-96 MIT School of Science publication.

Ms. Frankel began her career as a researcher in molecular biology and later became a landscape and architecture photographer. "I would like to help scientists communicate more broadly the wonders of what (scientists) do," she says. (Source: Spectrum)

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 13, 1995.

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