MICA extreme arts interns present final projects

Interns in the Extreme Arts program, a collaboration between HEMI and Maryland Institute College of Art, presented their final projects recently to an audience including HEMI mentors, staff, and students.

Started in 2015, the HEMI/MICA Extreme Arts internship program brings students from MICA to HEMI to translate results of HEMI’s research on extreme events in creative and visual ways.

Riley Cox, MICA student majoring in fibers, interned with Rebecca Schulman, an associate professor in the Whiting School of Engineering’s Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Cox experiments with weaving structures that contain LED matrices and can be coded to light up portions of cloth in desired patterns. Her goal is to create responsive, smart textiles that could be programmed to generate patterns, both through the physical process of weaving and through integrated technology.

During her internship, Cox says she was “inspired by Professor Schulman’s use of synthetic DNA computing circuits as a way to generate patterned responses.”

In Schulman’s research, chemical patterns act as a blueprint, defining the growth of cells. The process of weaving can function in a similar way, relying on patterns embedded in the order and placement of threads to create an output of different structures of cloth, according to Cox.

“The loom has historically been considered the precursor to modern computing,” said Cox,  whose project explores this relationship between technology and handcraft.

In tackling her project, she used digital drafting software which allowed her to experiment with patterns that could be generated within the threading process.

Fibers work by Riley Cox

Fibers work by Riley Cox

Candice EH Cramer, a MICA student majoring in multidisciplinary art, says, “The most resilient of things on Earth are what comprises the planet: minerals. Some of these minerals, like zircon and garnet extracted today, could share evidence of evolution during the earliest part of Earth’s history.”

Cramer interned at HEMI with Emmy Smith, an assistant professor in the Krieger School of Arts and Science’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Cramer said that through Smith’s work, she was able to “glean whispers of Precambrian life recorded in sedimentology, which endures beyond carbon dating by using uranium lead dating.” Through observing rocks extracted for their zircons, searching for sulfur as metabolism markers in marine sediments, and witnessing garnets prepared for spectrometry, she said she “gained a fondness” for minerals for their intrinsic value and their innate storytelling.

“As we face an age on Earth that is being shaped in front of our eyes by humans to the detriment of the environment, I wonder if these minerals can offer us wisdom by examining and replicating their forms through drawing,” said Cramer.

She is also inspecting minerals found in paint pigments to ponder upon the sustainability of the painting practice.

The event completes the eighth consecutive year of the Extreme Arts program which is a collaborative program between HEMI at Johns Hopkins University and the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Multidisciplinary Art by Candice EH Cramer

Resilient Shard
(Snowball Earth)
by Candice EH Cramer

Student-Built, Dime-Sized Instrument Is Venus-bound on NASA’s DAVINCI

DAVINCI Descent Sphere above Venus
DAVINCI will send a meter-diameter probe to brave the high temperatures and pressures near Venus’ surface to explore the atmosphere from above the clouds to near the surface of a terrain that may have been a past continent. During its final kilometers of free-fall descent (artist’s impression shown here), the probe will capture spectacular images and chemistry measurements of the deepest atmosphere on Venus for the first time.
Credits: NASA/GSFC/CI Labs

Venus Oxygen Fugacity (VfOx) is a small, button-sized sensor aboard NASA’s DAVINCI mission to Venus’ atmosphere that will be designed, fabricated, tested, operated, and analyzed by undergraduate and graduate students as the mission’s Student Collaboration Experiment.

Planned for launch in 2029, the DAVINCI mission (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging) will send a spacecraft and a probe to Venus to investigate numerous unsolved mysteries of the planet. Prior to dropping its descent probe into the Venus atmosphere, the spacecraft will perform two flybys of the planet, taking measurements of clouds and ultraviolet absorption on the Venusian day side, and taking measurements of heat emanating from the planet’s surface on the night side. Two years after launch, the mission’s probe, called the Descent Sphere, will enter the Venus atmosphere, ingesting and analyzing atmospheric gases and collecting images as it descends to the surface of the planet at the Alpha Regio region.

VfOx will be mounted on the outside of the Descent Sphere, where it will measure the oxygen fugacity – the partial pressure of the oxygen – in the deep atmosphere beneath Venus’ clouds, including the near-surface environment.

By analyzing these ground-breaking VfOx measurements, scientists will, for the first time, seek to identify what minerals are most stable at the surface of Venus in the highlands and link the formation of rocks to their recent modification histories. VfOx will measure the amount of oxygen present near the surface of Venus as a “fingerprint” of the rock-atmosphere reactions that are going on today. The balance of how much oxygen is present in the atmosphere, compared to the amount of oxygen captured in the rocks of Venus, will provide information towards a new understanding of the surface minerals in a mountainous region of Venus (known as “tessera”) that has never been visited by a spacecraft.

Understanding how much oxygen is contained in Venus’ atmosphere will be important in preparation for characterizing Venus-like worlds beyond our solar system with the JWST and future observatories. How much oxygen Venus has in its deepest atmosphere will help scientists studying these remote worlds distinguish between oxygen produced by life, such as what happens on Earth, from oxygen produced solely by abiotic chemical planetary processes, such as what happens on Venus.

The instrument will operate similarly to the oxygen sensor in many automobile engines, which measures the amount of oxygen in the fuel system relative to other components of the fuel. Like all instruments aboard the DAVINCI Descent Sphere, VfOx must be adapted to survive Venus’ inhospitable atmosphere. Even though temperatures at the surface of the planet are hot enough to melt lead, the temperatures in internal combustion car engines are even hotter, so VfOx will operate in a comparatively cooler environment on Venus. Additionally, VfOx will be built out of ceramic, a material that is resistant to temperature changes.

The motivating goal for DAVINCI’s Student Collaboration Experiment is educating and training young scientists and engineers in planetary science and engineering skills and providing a real-world application for those skills. “We are trying to engage and encourage the next generation of planetary scientists and engineers,” says Dr. Noam Izenberg, principal research staff at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, and student collaboration lead for VfOx on DAVINCI.

Students will build the VfOx instrument, analyze the data it returns from Venus, and participate in science activities with the DAVINCI science team. Students involved will be advised by faculty at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

The excitement of being actively involved with a real space-flight mission as an undergraduate may be one of the best incentives to attract a diverse group of students to this project. “We want to attract more students from all backgrounds, including the less-advantaged and the less-represented,” says Dr. Izenberg. “There will be lots of mentors across the board – on the mission and science side, and the engineering side – where students can find not just mentors of the professions that they might be looking for, but also mentors who look like them, because the DAVINCI team itself is fairly good in its own diversity.”

Johns Hopkins will be working in collaboration with the Applied Physics Lab to plan and implement the student experiment. Johns Hopkins will also work in collaboration with the Maryland Institute College of Arts in Baltimore, which has an extreme arts institute that will be involved with an intersection between science and art. The Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute in Baltimore will help coordinate this project, and Morgan State University in Baltimore is an intended partner.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is the principal investigator institution for DAVINCI and will perform project management and scientific leadership for the mission, as well as project systems engineering to develop the probe flight system. Goddard also leads the project science support team and provides two key instruments on the probe.

Prototype VfOx instrument
These images of a prototype of the shirt-button-sized VfOx instrument show the disk of the sensor itself. It has a diameter of just under one centimeter (almost 0.4 inches) and will be located on the side of the DAVINCI Descent Sphere.
Credits: Johns Hopkins APL

Brooke Hess
​NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

Media Contacts:

Bill Steigerwald
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
[email protected]

This article originally appeared on the NASA website.

HEMI Collaborations Showcased Through Five Summer Student Opportunities

Despite restrictions due to COVID-19, summer 2021 was an exciting time for HEMI, with five different internship and apprenticeship programs highlighting a diverse array of research opportunities.

The High School Apprenticeship Program (formerly known as REAP), sponsored by the Army Educational Outreach Program, sought out high school students from groups historically underrepresented in STEM fields. Working with a mentor, these students pursued research into topics ranging from breaking bonds in crystal quartz, to the development of 3D models simulating surface growth.

The Undergraduate Apprenticeship Program (formerly known as URAP), provided undergraduate researchers with the resources to develop and pursue individual research projects. Sponsored by the Army Educational Outreach Program and CMEDE, this program provided valuable Army research, as well as experience that will prepare these students for careers in science and engineering.

Students participating in the HEMI/MICA Extreme Arts Summer Project/Internship had the opportunity to artistically engage with HEMI research and projects. They translated scientific research into expressive, thought-provoking art, as well as to research and develop new materials.

Students in the Morgan State Extreme Science Internship (ESI) participate in both internal and external internships associated with the CMEDE. ESI opportunities are STEM-focused with a particular emphasis on providing research opportunities related to MEDE. Internal ESI are hosted by MSU faculty on the campus of Morgan State University. External ESI are conducted at one of the CMEDE university and research institutions located across the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany.

Finally, with the addition of the Materials Science in Extreme Environments University Research Alliance (MSEE URA) to HEMI, the Undergraduate Research Award program was offered this summer for the first time. In this program, students work under the mentorship of an MSEE URA principal investigator within the technical areas of chemical and biological agent defeat, and nuclear blast.

If you would like to read more about our summer programs and the research completed by this year’s participants, click here.

HEMI Fellow Sarah Hörst Awarded 2020 Early Career Award from American Astronomical Society

Congratulations to Sarah Hörst, HEMI Fellow and assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, who has been awarded the 2020 Early Career Award from the Laboratory Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society.

According to the award citation, Hörst is being recognized for laboratory research advancing our understanding of photochemical haze formation in planetary atmospheres within our solar system and beyond.

Within the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Prof. Hörst has established a unique laboratory to study the photochemical production of hazes in extreme environments, primarily focusing on the atmospheres of super-Earth and mini-Neptune exoplanets. Within HEMI, she has served as mentor to Amy Wetsch, a 2018 HEMI/MICA Extreme Arts Summer Intern.

Click here to view the full article on from from the Laboratory Astrophysics Division announcing Hörst’s award.

2020 HEMI/MICA Extreme Arts Summer Project/Internship Application Period Now Open

We are pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for the 2020 HEMI/MICA Extreme Arts Summer Project/Internship.

The goal of the HEMI/MICA Extreme Arts Summer Project/Internship is to explore visual representations of the HEMI organization, structure, current research, and relationships. Visual representations can include: storyboarding and narrative, animation, photography, graphic design, interactive arts, or products, games, information visualization, illustration, or drawing.

Current MICA undergraduate or graduate students are able to apply for this internship. The applicant must also identify a MICA faculty member to serve as their advisor for this project/internship.

The total award for this summer project/internship is $3,000. $2,000 will be granted to the student as a stipend that will also cover any supplies or expenses. $1,000 will be granted to the MICA faculty member for his/her time to support and oversee the development of the project.

Deadline: Monday, February 10, 2020

For more information and how to apply please click here.

2020 HEMI/MICA Extreme Arts Program Artist in Residence Application Period Now Open

The application period for the 2020 HEMI/MICA Extreme Arts Program Artist/Designer in Residence is now open!

The goal of this artist/designer in residence is to bring MICA and JHU faculty together to collaborate and explore ways to represent, visualize, and/or interpret HEMI research. Representations of HEMI research can include, but are not limited to:

  • Responses to research regarding HEMI ‘extreme’ events, collaborations, interdependent systems
  • Interpretation, translation, and/or communication of large amounts of data
  • Creation of experiences that bridge the gap between new audiences and the knowledge created within HEMI
  • Conceptual, textual, ephemeral, and/or visual works that expand the interpretations of HEMI research

The semester in residence is expected to take place in either the fall semester from late August – December 2020 or the spring semester from January – May 2021.

Proposals are due by 5PM on Friday, February 14, 2020. Please email the proposal as a single PDF document to Bess Bieluczyk ([email protected]). Questions may be addressed to Bess as well.

Click here for more information about the requirements and proposal process.

Christopher Sloan Joins HEMI as 2019 HEMI/MICA Extreme Arts Program Artist-in-Residence

We are excited to announce that Prof. Christopher Sloan will be joining HEMI as our 2019 HEMI/MICA Extreme Arts Program Artist-in-Residence. Sloan has years of experience producing works that translate complex science to immediately intelligible and visually striking works of visual art. He currently teaches both at MICA and at the Academy of Art, University of San Francisco.

As part of his residency, he plans to visualize areas invisible to the human eye, specifically those on very small scales, such as that of atoms, molecules and nano-scale structures. Using 3D models to visually represent these invisible spaces, Sloan plans to cast these models in rhodium plated brass to create physical manifestations of these invisible worlds.

The HEMI/MICA Extreme Arts Program is an initiative that brings faculty and students from both institutions together to explore unique perspectives on extreme events.  The program aims to encourage collaboration among artists and researchers to examine data, interpret outcomes, and translate results from extreme events in new ways. It is our hope that this dialogue will create a stronger community through a shared sense of curiosity and exploration.

If you would like to learn more about the program, please follow the link below: https://hemi.jhu.edu/academic-programs/hemimica-extreme-arts-program/.

Extreme Creativity: HEMI/MICA Extreme Arts Program Showcased in JHU Engineering Magazine

An unlikely collaboration between engineers and artists has yielded inspired creations in both fields.

HEMI/MICA Partnership Highlighted in Velocity Magazine

In a recently published article, HEMI/MICA Extreme Arts Program Artists-in-Residence Prof. Jenna Frye, Prof. Jay Gould and Prof. Kimberly Hall speak about the importance of merging artistic sensibility with scientific pursuit.

Prof. Gould worked with HEMI Fellow Prof. KT Ramesh and his group to reimagine HEMI’s research using playful analogies, unique narratives and unexpected lab documentation. See some images from his residency here.

Prof. Hall created textiles and wallpaper depicting both the her time on the JHU campus as well as the intricacies of HEMI Fellow Lori Graham-Brady’s research work. Listen to Prof. Hall discuss her residency here.

Prof. Jenna Frye was hoping to discover a cohesive relationship between the physical form of the objects and the playful design interaction and the research findings of the team so that the experience of the play would speak to the research being conducted. She is currently finishing her projects and will be exhibiting them on the JHU campus this fall.

Read the article here: https://www.mica.edu/art-articles/details/when-art-science-collide/.

The HEMI/MICA Extreme Arts Program is an initiative that brings faculty and students from both institutions together to explore unique perspectives on extreme events.  The program aims to encourage collaboration among artists and researchers to examine data, interpret outcomes, and translate results from extreme events in new ways. It is our hope that this dialog will create a stronger community through a shared sense of curiosity and exploration.