Arts + Culture

Program introduces high school students to intersection of art and science

The Sci | Art Nano Lab Summer Institute — a joint venture between UCLA's Art | Sci Center and the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) — welcomes more than 60 participating high school students for its inaugural summer session this week. The program was created to introduce high school students to the various intersections of art and science and to show the creative side of scientific innovation.
From July 7 to 18, participating high school students — most from California, but some from as far away as Bogot and Hong Kong — will be immersed in a university setting and will have access to a dozen cutting-edge laboratories at the CNSI. Groups of participating students will be led by a scientist-artist team and will be visited by scientists who are conducting groundbreaking research in nanoscience and nanotechnology.
"We are excited to provide such an unusual and stimulating opportunity for high school students," said Victoria Vesna, professor of design and media arts and director of the UCLA Art | Sci Center. "These students will be entering a community of internationally recognized scientists and artists who are actively engaged in the collaborative process. We hope to show them how these traditionally disparate disciplines complement and inform one another."
Daily lectures and hands-on laboratory workshops will explore the creative aspects of scientific research and innovation. Students will gain a broad understanding of the impact of science on contemporary art and popular culture and will focus on new sciences — biotechnology and nanotechnology. Emphasis will be on the development of proposals and ideas which could serve as prototypes for art projects or scientific research studies.
Throughout the program, course work will be interspersed with screenings of classic and contemporary science fiction movies and stimulating field trips to the Getty Conservation Lab, where students will learn about the science behind art conservation, the quirky Museum of Jurassic Technology, the Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art and Venice Beach.
The CNSI has provided sponsorship for five students to enable their participation. These students come from a variety of Los Angeles area high schools, including the Los Angeles Technology Center, Belmont High School, Gertz-Ressler Academy Charter School and the Vaughn International Studies Academy.
With a focus on the possibilities of nanotechnology, the Nano Lab program participants will have the opportunity to interact with graduate students from the Nanosystems Chemistry and Engineering Research (NanoCER) program at the CNSI. Nano Lab students will benefit from further exposure to and collaboration with top faculty and students participating in the NanoCER program's team-based, interdisciplinary research. Nanotechnology applications currently being studied involve optics, materials and new devices.

The Nano Lab is designed for high school juniors and seniors interested in collaborating with diverse and notable minds to challenge traditional polarization of the arts and sciences. The program is sponsored by UCLA's Art | Sci Center, the UCLA Department of Design | Media Arts and the CNSI.
The UCLA Art | Sci Center focuses on collaborative projects that address social, ethical and environmental issues in scientific innovation. For information about the program's syllabus, schedule, participating faculty, resources and registration, visit

The California NanoSystems Institute was established in 2000 as a joint enterprise between UCLA and UC Santa Barbara, with $100 million in funding from the state of California and an additional $250 million in federal research grants and industry funding. The CNSI is a multidisciplinary research institute whose mission is to encourage university collaboration with industry and enable the rapid commercialization of discoveries in nanosystems. CNSI members at UCLA include some of the world's preeminent scientists working in five targeted areas of nanosystems-related research: renewable energy; environmental nanotechnology and nanotoxicology; nanobiotechnology and biomaterials; nanomechanical and nanofluidic systems; and nanoelectronics, photonics and architectonics. For additional information, visit
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