Tiny Giants inspired discovery and art

12-16-2015

Students swapped science stories and shared science-inspired sculptures during a culminating event at Colby College Friday evening, December 11^th. The event marked the end of a Tiny Giants-inspired semester at Colby, where professors from six different disciplines (biology, environmental science, the humanities, are, theater and dane) integrated Bigelow Laboratory's Tiny Giants photographic art exhibit into their fall curriculums.

Closing activities began Friday morning at Bigelow Laboratory with presentations by four students participating in the Changing Oceans: Colby@Bigelow Laboratory semester program. Students Brian Kim, Madison Marra, Afia Obeng, and Albertha Ladina (from left below) presented their analysis of data collected during six research cruises over the course of the semester. They presented to a full house of Bigelow Laboratory researchers and masterfully survived the good-natured grilling about their results.

DSC03723 for web.jpg The students and their mentors Drs. Ben Twining, Pete Countway, David Fields, and Nicole Poulton then headed to Colby College in Waterville to share their findings with fellow students and professors. Each presented what they had learned to a packed house in the Wormser Room at Miller Library. After the presentations, the entourage moved to the adjacent Miller Library for an unveiling of sculptures inspired by specific Tiny Giant images. Each sculpture student gave a thoughtful and inspired explanation of how the scientific information about the microorganism informed their creative process.

Dr. Bradley Borthwick, an assistant professor of Art at Colby, led the sculpture project in his studio. Borthwick explained that each sculpture began with a 50 pound block of marble that the students spent hours and hours working on to create imaginative and visually appealing works of art. The Sculpture III students who presented their work are Seniors Katie Chicojay Moore, Nicholas Kim, Alison Grover, and Fabio Castiblanco, and Junior Silas Eastman.

"Our idea behind the Tiny Giants images was to pique people's imaginations about the invisible creatures that we study that are vital to our very existence," said Dr. Benjamin Twining, director of research and education at Bigelow Laboratory. "Their visual depiction provides the opportunity for people to also learn about marine microbes. We are delighted that Colby College took this a step further and explored microbes from a variety of vantage points, from using them as a muse for sculptural inspiration to examining how microbial knowledge might be used to help guide policy positions."

"Colby's strategic partnership with Bigelow Laboratory provides world-class opportunities in marine science and climate science for our students--we knew that," said Colby Provost and Dean of Faculty Lori G. Kletzer. "The unique aesthetic for examining the natural microbial world through these photos completely reinforces the interdisciplinary approach that both our institutions value so highly."