Tech by VICE

You Don't Need to Be a Rocket Scientist to Enjoy These Quantum Physics Visualizations

The universe’s subatomic particle collisions get an artistic spin.

by Diana Shi
Mar 11 2017, 12:35pm

For the average person, the principles of quantum physics are a cognitive obstacle course. Even more esoteric is the visualization of the movement of subatomic particles. Hoping to simplify and beautify the phenomenon of quantum physics, a new art project takes a swing at filtering the dynamics of atomic motion through abstract art. The project titled, Quantum Fluctuations, is the work of digital artist, Markos Kay. Kay's innate interest in the intersection of arts and science contributed to the orchestration of a video documenting microscopic collisions.

The artist's spell-binding compositions weave together tiny pearlescent nodes and shocks of spiky bursts. Quantum Fluctuations, with the help of Imagine Science Films and New York University's Abu Dhabi Art Center, breaks down six stages of particle collision: The Underlying Event, the Proton Beam, the Hard Subprocess, the Parton Showers, the Hadronization, and the Hadron Decay.

In generic views of the subatomic world, computer renderings build a visual based on conceptual information—a combination of lab results and data-surmised simulations. Kay describes the final results in these processes as an "indirect method of observation; a non-representational form of observation mediated by simulations." 

His project, which showed in early March in Abu Dhabi, features reworkings of immersive CG pictures as an experiential video, augmented with light and projections. Watch a sequence of the video below:

To learn more about Markos Kay and Quantum Fluctuations, visit his website, here.


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abstract art
quantum fluctuations
subatomic particles
Imagine Science Films
Markos Kay