Home Chapter 2 Artists, astronomers and physicists
Artists, astronomers and physicists
Book - Chapter 2

The contemporary artists Sachiko Kodama + Minako Takeno have created a work called Protrude, Flow (2001), which is an interactive installation that captures magnetic fluxes into the physical material and in the process shows the dynamics of magnetic fluxes controlled by means of a digital computer.


Protrude, Flow by  Sachiko Kodama & Minako Takeno.  2001.


Protrude, Flow is composed of ferromagnetic fluid, which is modulated by the sound and moving images of viewers as they enter the space. These complex and evolving dynamic transformations are also projected on a wide screen.


Protrude, Flow by  Sachiko Kodama & Minako Takeno.  2001.


In 1861, Maxwell refined, captured, and summarized the laws and theories of the field into four elegant equations. Maxwell was able to predict the existence of other electromagnetic phenomena through analysis of the laws. His equations predicted the existence of electromagnetic waves that would later be discovered by the physicist Heinrich Hertz (1857--94). [8]

With like charges repelling each other; unlike charges attracting each other, you can now understand why it is that when you push your hand on the table, your hand does not pass through the table. Yes! It is the like charges of the table and the like charges in your hand that repels each other. The electron forces keep them from passing through each other and keep you from falling through the floor.

This is also the reason that your body does not spontaneously fly apart, as the electron forces of the atoms in your body are attracted to the positive forces that exist in other atoms, which construct your body. We are really a sticky affair, held together with electrostatic glue.

In order to understand the behavior of electricity, it helps to take a closer look at the structure of the atom and discuss the process of experimentation and visualization that allowed researchers to understand what the atom is composed of. It is equally important to reflect on the history of how we came to better understand the structure of the atom and the universe, as it illuminates the experimental nature of how these discoveries were made.


M3 (NGC 5272) a globular cluster consisting of approximately 500,000 stars, located within our galaxy at a
distance of approximately 30,600 light years. Taken with the Newtonian telescope at Fremont Peak State Park in
California. by Adrian Fernandez


Humans have been working for 2,000 years to provide better visualizations of what atoms look like. These progressive and collective experiments, along with important visualization by hundreds of scientists, philosophers, and artists, all contribute to our current modern conception of what the atom is, and there is more to be discovered as string theory begins to sew the divide between Albert Einsteins’ General Relativity and Ricard Feynman’s Quantum Electrodynamics. [9]

While the word atom comes from the Greek word atomos, which means cannot be further divided; we now know that atoms are complex entities that can be divided.

In 1808, John Dalton (1766—1844) was experimenting with evaporating liquid water inside enclosed containers. While observing the results of his experiment, he realized that water could exist inside the container as a gas, which is separate from the air. He noticed that when the gaseous water would condense, it would then return to its liquid state. Pondering this experiment, Dalton suggested that all atoms of a particular kind are the same weight and size and that atomic elements combine chemically into molecules, which then form compounds. [10]