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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/D06760X/1
Title: PPE:What Can The Matter Be?
Principal Investigator: Miodownik, Professor M
Other Investigators:
Dillon, Professor J
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Organisation: Kings College London
Scheme: Partnerships- Public Engage
Starts: 01 October 2006 Ends: 30 September 2007 Value (£): 83,436
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Characterisation
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The relationship between culture and materials is most obviously demonstrated in the naming of ages of civilizations after materials, such as the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age. The defining material of the Victorian era, steel, allowed engineers to give full rein to their dreams of creating suspension bridges, railways, steam engines, and passenger liners. In doing so, engineers used steel as a material manifesto to transform the landscape and to sow the seeds of modernism. We will produce an MP3 science tour of the Tate Modern to show that this interplay between science and art is encapsulated in the museum. We will explore the evolution of the ancient pigments through to the newer organic pigments that ushered in the Expressionist period. We will consider the science of brightness, hue and saturation, colour wheels and the origin of pure and complimentary colours. We will focus on a number of paintings including Yves Kline's 'IKB 79' which features his International Klein Blue and Anish Kapor's powdered pigment sculptures.We will introduce the wide range of materials used in sculpture at the Tate Modern and how the physics of each material affects both the aesthetics, sensual properties and shaping possibilities. We will consider the materiality of sculptures in Naum Gabo's 'Head No. 2' and Salvador Dali's 'Lobster Telephone'. We will explore questions such as whether the introduction of rapid prototyping will do to sculpture in the 21st century what photography did to painting in the 20th century.The engineering of installations will be considered, such as that for Cornelia Parker's 'Cold Dark Matter; exploded Shed' and other complex installations in the Tate Modern. We will explore the relationship between artists and the engineers they hire to construct their work and how this relationship might affect the outcome of the final work. Examples such the current Rachel Whiteread 'Embankment' (with its innovative use of polyethylene) will be considered, but the 2006 Turbine Hall installation will be the focus. Contemporary art is if anything a more difficult subject than science to communicate with the public, and yet Tate Modern is one most visited art museums in the world, it attracts more than 4 million visitors per year. Many of whom are rarely found going to a science event, museum or lecture. We want these people to download our MP3 tour onto their iPods and to discover that a knowledge of chemistry, materials and engineering enhances their experience of art and allows them to decode the complexities and subtleties of our culture. We hope that this will be a catalyst for them to accept our invitation to visit the Materials Library at King's College London and to interact with the scientists who study both the sensual and physical properties of materials.
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