Art meets science as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey has officially appointed its first artist in residence.
Tim Fitzpatrick, an installation artist from Fife, Scotland, will continue his ongoing work in his new official capacity, bringing his unique perspective to an already-rich collaboration.
“I’m excited to be continuing my work to bring such exciting science to a new audience,” Fitzpatrick says.
The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) is an international collaboration that has been working since 2000 to create the most detailed three-dimensional map of the Universe ever made. Viewing the sky from twin telescopes in New Mexico and Chile – one in each hemisphere – the SDSS has captured color images of more than one-third of the entire sky, and measured the compositions and distances of more than three million stars and galaxies.
“I’ve been exploring the hidden messages encoded in emission line spectra. They are so beautiful, and I want to help people become more familiar with their existence.”
Now in its fourth phase, the SDSS continues to improve its map by measuring distances to more distant galaxies than ever before, collecting infrared spectra of hundreds of thousands of stars in our own galaxy, and mapping the full internal structure of hundreds of nearby galaxies. It is this last project, known as Mapping Nearby Galaxies from Apache Point Observatory (MaNGA), that first connected Fitzpatrick with the SDSS.
Fitzpatrick has been working with Anne-Marie Weijmans of the University of St Andrews, Data Release Coordinator for the SDSS. Last summer, he attended the SDSS collaboration meeting in Santiago, Chile, where he closed the meeting with an artistic summary. Fitzpatrick, Weijmans, and other SDSS researchers have worked together to create Shine, an interactive exhibit combining art and music with SDSS data to enhance public understanding of how light works.
Shine: Code for Everything III has evolved from two earlier series of artworks by Fitzpatrick and responds to the nationally significant scientific instruments displayed at the Museum of the University of St Andrews (MUSA). His new artworks are installed alongside historic artifacts, contributing to the gallery’s theme of “seeing and believing.” His installation will be on display at MUSA throughout May and June.
“Working with Tim on Shine really showed us the impact art can have in engaging people with science and scientific data,” Weijmans says. “Many visitors say they had never been to a science exhibit before, but they were drawn in by the art and want to learn more about the science that inspired it.”
“I’ve been exploring the hidden messages encoded in emission line spectra,” Fitzpatrick says. “These spectra are so beautiful, and I want to help people become more familiar with their existence.”
Fitzpatrick’s new role as SDSS artist in residence will also help other artists connect with SDSS researchers, explains Karen Masters of Haverford College, the SDSS’s Scientific Spokesperson.
“Tim will help make the data from SDSS more accessible outside of the scientific community,” Masters says, “and he will also help our scientists gain a new perspective on our own work. We are delighted to have Tim as our Artist in Residence.”
- Tim Fitzpatrick, Artist-in-Residence, Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS)
firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 (0)7722 244 576
- Anne-Marie Weijmans, SDSS Data Release Coordinator, University of St Andrews
email@example.com, +44 (0)1334 462823
Twitter: @AMWeijmans / @Shine_iyl2015
- Karen Masters, SDSS Scientific Spokesperson, Haverford College
firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 610 795 6066
Twitter: @KarenLMasters / @SDSSurveys
- Jordan Raddick, SDSS Public Information Officer, Johns Hopkins University
email@example.com, +1 443 570 7105
About the Sloan Digital Sky Survey
Funding for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey IV has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, and the Participating Institutions. SDSS-IV acknowledges support and resources from the Center for High-Performance Computing at
the University of Utah. The SDSS web site is www.sdss.org.
SDSS-IV is managed by the Astrophysical Research Consortium for the Participating Institutions of the SDSS Collaboration including the Brazilian Participation Group, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Carnegie Mellon University, the Chilean Participation Group, the French Participation Group, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, The Johns Hopkins University, Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (IPMU) / University of Tokyo, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Leibniz Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP), Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie (MPIA Heidelberg), Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik (MPA Garching), Max-Planck-Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik (MPE), National Astronomical Observatories of China, New Mexico State University, New York University, University of Notre Dame, Observatório Nacional / MCTI, The Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, United Kingdom Participation Group, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, University of Arizona, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Oxford, University of Portsmouth, University of Utah, University of Virginia, University of Washington, University of Wisconsin, Vanderbilt University, and Yale University.