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When Science is Art and Art is Science

Dr. Paul Hargraves and artist Fay Darling pool their talents to reveal the majestic but microscopic, creations of the world's waters.

The “Mandala” shown here consists of eight repetitive portions of the diatom Triceratium robertsianum.

The “Mandala” shown here consists of eight repetitive portions of the diatom Triceratium robertsianum.

There is an art to science and there is a specific science to art. But rarely do people ever consider art and science one and the same. Creativity doesn’t play into the fact-based, research-driven world of scientists, just as artists aren’t concerned about formulas or controlled environments.

Likewise, those things never mattered to research scientist Dr. Paul Hargraves and artist Fay Darling. The two friends have a symbiotic relationship: Hargraves studies diatoms and other microscopic marine organisms in the Indian River Lagoon, while Darling turns Hargraves’ images of these creatures into a beautiful kaleidoscope of abstract art.

Currently, a researcher and faculty member at FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Hargraves spent more than 30 years as a professor at the University of Rhode Island and was contemplating retirement when a former student, Dennis Hanisak, director of Harbor Branch’s Center for Ocean Health, contacted him about joining the HBOI staff. He considered other marine research centers in Florida and North Carolina, “but none were more welcoming than Harbor Branch.”

Read the entire article in the March 2010 issue