When physics meets art. Grant for a scientist from UG

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Art installation 'Colour and light', Singapore 2019, Karolina Wojnowska-Paterek.

Prof. Tomasz Paterek from the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science at the University of Gdansk has received an American FQXi grant. The awarded funds will enable collaboration between theoretical physicists and artists, which will result in the creation of a mobile art installation inspired by polarisation and quantum physics.

Dr hab. Tomasz Paterek, prof. UG from the Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics of the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science of UG deals with quantum physics and its borderline with other branches of science. Now, the borderline with art should be added to them. Recently, he received a grant 'Travels of Light', which was funded by the Foundational Questions Institute (FQXi).

The funds received are to enable collaboration between theoretical physicists and artists, and will result in the creation of a mobile art installation inspired by polarisation and quantum physics.

- 'My favourite subject of daily work is the basics of physics. Today they are based on two pillars - quantum physics and Einstein's theory of gravity. We design experiments that can demonstrate quantum features of gravity and thus point the way to a unified description of all physics. The grant from FQXi is somewhat parallel to my scientific interests and supports the popularisation of quantum ideas. The artist will create a dynamic space made of glass and light that will illustrate quantum phenomena such as 'being in several places at once or the dividing lines between the observer and the observed system. I don't want to say too much. Let's meet at the installation!', - says prof. Tomasz Peterek.

Professor T. Peterek explains in a very interesting way the idea of combining physics and art in his project.

- 'Quantum physics is known for its abstract formulation and unexpected predictions. It forces us to reject the concepts we have developed while learning about the macroscopic world around us since childhood. Its domain of applicability is the micro-world, inaccessible to the direct action of the senses,' he explains. - 'Art can fill this gap and, through an appropriately crafted space, give viewers impressions closely corresponding to quantum ideas,' - he concludes.

More information about the installation's location will be announced soon.

FQXi is an independent, philanthropically funded non-profit organisation, run by scientists for scientists, with a Scientific Advisory Board.

Elżbieta Michalak-Witkowska / Press Office UG