Science for art's sake

24th March 2000 at 00:00
THE ART OF SCIENCE - a pop-up adventure in art. By Jay Young and Martin Jenkins. Walker Books pound;19.99.

hildren tend to see art and science as separate subjects - those interested in one tend not to be interested in the other.

But this wonderfully cross-curricular creation shows how close the concerns of art and science often are.

Five elaborate pop-ups, remarkable feats of paper engineering in themselves, illustrate various aspects of science. So a paper pendulum demonstrates unpredictable patterns in nature; a wave sculpture the "rhythms" of physics. A stereoscope introduces us to optical tricks, a pop-up camera obscura to the fact that arists have been more than willing to enlist machinery and engineering to push back the boundaries of visual expression.

When considering patterns in nature readers are invited, for example, to consider the work of Jackson Pollock, who made use of unpredictable movements in his work, employing the way liquid naturally splashes when it falls. When we consider rhythms, we are introduced to the work of Bridget Riley and her evocation of the waves scientists believe play a vital part in the invisible world of physics.

This is an enlightening book, which challenges young minds. A word of warning: the pop-ups are fragile - handle with care!

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