Mr. Patrick D. Visentin, Department of Studio Arts, Concordia University
Dr. Austin Gulliver, Dean of Science, Brandon University
Ms Lin Xu, Department of Fine Arts, Brandon University
Dr. Louis P. Visentin, President and Vice-Chancellor, Brandon University

"The greatest enterprise of the mind always has been and always will be the attempt to link the sciences and the humanities", Edwin O. Wilson, in Back from Chaos, 1998.

Most of us who have pursued science as a career appreciate how much we owe to those that came before us in the building of this complex and uniquely human pursuit. The long thread of curiosity that binds us spans our written human history, from Aristotle to Hawking, and projected into the future, is limited only by the imagination and longevity of our species. It has altered the course of history as much by the philosophical impact of its paradigms as by the products of its discoveries. From both perspectives science has changed the way we see ourselves in the universe, the manner in which we live in it, and most important, it has enriched and expanded the nature of dialectic itself.

The scientific establishment, like its other human counterparts, is replete with "bishops", acolytes, rogues, charlatans, drones, and fanatics. It is also the home of genius, integrity, rigour, intuition, and poetry. Yes, it is poetic in its level of abstraction and its subject shares with poetry a symmetry, rhythm and structure that is both mysterious, esthetically pleasing, and symbolic. Its roots in mathematics imparts to it a poetic beauty implicit in the demands for simplicity and elegance.

The defining attribute of Homo sapiens is our ability to use language and communicate meaning using symbols, sounds, sights and structures. Our fluency in the use of icon, image, index and symbols allows us to understand across barriers of dialect and ideology and see the world as it really is or might be.

This project began as a dialogue between an artist (P. D. V.) and a scientist (L. P. V.) discussing how to understand the things about science given that we speak very different languages. We spoke to each other. I talked, he listened. He drew, I saw. I wrote, he read. We pondered. He hummed, I whistled. The frequencies got closer and closer. Ideas began to resonate. Perception and meaning was amplified. A chord of understanding was struck. An overlap of some sort was achieved. We nodded. We continued playing our separate instruments of communications. Curved lines, gray shapes, words. More resonance. The same clarity, resoprosity and enlightenment. Only something approximating the truth. Resonance, but still distinct separation. Consilience, but not truth.

What of these facts and theories of science? Which facts, which theories? We’ve selected Science’s top twenty, from a list suggested by Robert Hazen and James Trefil in SCIENCE, 1991.

Here they are:

1. The universe is regular and predictable.
2. One set of laws describes all motion.
3. Energy is conserved.
4. Energy always goes from more useful to less useful forms.
5. Electricity and magnetism are two aspects of the same force.
6. Everything is made of atoms.
7. Everything—particles, energy the rate of electron spin—comes in discrete units, and you can’t measure anything without changing it.
8. Atoms are bound together by electron "glue".
9. The way material behaves depends on how its atoms are arranged.
10. Nuclear energy comes from the conversion of mass.
11. Everything is made of quarks and leptons.
12. The universe was born at a specific time in the past, and has been expanding ever since.
13. Stars live and die like everything else.
14. Every observer sees the same laws of nature.
15. The surface of the Earth is constantly changing, and no feature on Earth is permanent.
16. Everything on Earth operates in cycles.
17. All living things are made from cells, the chemical factories of life.
18. All life is based on the same genetic code.
19. All forms of life evolved by natural selection.
20. All life is connected.

These preface the title of the verse and image in the table of contents. Similarly, the equations chosen to exemplify each fact or theory are personal selections and represent the bias and esthetic tastes of the artists.

One of us (A.G.) has provided the prose descriptions of the equations. We think we came close to each concept. You be the judge.

Art@Science.137 is a work of creative consilience of the imagination, a "jumping together" of perspectives using the visual and text based languages of the arts to illuminate the facts and fact based theories of science. In doing so, we hope to create a common ground of explanation and understanding that extend the algorithmic compressions of the mathematics, the language of science.

On another plane, this is an exploration of the boundary of languages to translate and create meaning outside of each idiom. Hence our use of the number 137. It is a mysterious number you will find on the doors of physicist’s offices and laboratories everywhere, reminding them that science hasn’t discovered everything. It actually represents a relationship between electromagnetism in the form of the charge of the electron, relativity in the form of the speed of light, and quantum mechanics in the form of Planck’s constant. What it relates to is unknown and physicists have explored its meaning without success. It remains a mysterious expression of our reality. It consumed the interest of some of the twentieth century’s great minds including the late and great artist, bongo drummer and Noble laureate, Richard Feynman, who inspired our work from the beginning.

We hope that our attempt at "resonance" is no less exquisite than the original forms, expands the understanding of reality as only art can by imposing subjective expressions of beauty, elegance, and symmetry on the declarative "this is" of science. So the "I" of Art, meets the "We" of science in an attempt to create an appreciation and understanding immeasurably more diverse and pleasing than a simple equation, symbol, photo, or graph.

Finally, we have juxtaposed our prints, verses and equations with a Chinese calligraphy exposition of the equations and the visuals (L.X.) in an attempt to extend the exercise beyond our traditional cultures and practices. The result is an aesthetically surprising imaginary tour de force. Enjoy!

This project began almost 20 years ago, at least the poetry part. Patrick Visentin took up the challenge as a project for his B.F.A. Austin Gulliver refined and defined the equations for us and did a fabulous job. Lin Xu took it one step further and applied Chinese calligraphy to both the equations and the concepts. The result was a heightened asthetic and a genius touch. The result, we hope, is something aesthetically surprising, imaginary, and food for the head, the heart, and the soul. Enjoy!

1. "The universe is regular and predictable" ... at least the one we are in ... then again, there may be many.

Deutschographischrealitat: Ode to Ms. Universe



Oh you whose warm embraces give me life,
Your autumn glances quell my longing fire.
Your storms, like dirks into my heart do knife,

Their fierce dirges played on winter's lyre,
With bare and biting breath erase
The memory sweet of summer solstice pyres

Lit in supplication and in honor; lend
Majestic tribute to your realm and see,
Whose living waters nourish well and mend

The wounds of winter in a solar lea.
Thoughts of isolation cold, I keep
Hidden deeply so my mind can't see.

O Terra! Terra! To your hearth I blindly leap
Seeking succor in your earthy bosom deep.


O fragile Dionysian beauty, my bride,
My safety from those ravages and rusts,
Whose consummations are the will of pride,

That blind deceiver of the subtle and the just,
Who lives detached in art and artifice sublime
Declaiming all debauch of matter and of lust.

Unless the actions are rhetorically in rhyme,
Or painted thus as colored visions of a kind,
Sully not my inner space and tempered clime,

With things material that cloud the mind,
My only garden of reality and being is that
Which seeks and yearns and cannot find.

Ideas flying! Ideas soaring! Ideas fleeing!
Beyond my sensate world of touch and seeing!


O tranquil seas and welcome shores of paradise
Give me solace and respite in matters metaphysical
And from all those feeble sophistries that sermonize,

Rejecting all those truths canonical
Posed as given, by the charlatans of seasons,
Those guised in raiments philosophical.

Loose me from logic's tyrannical cohesion
Which stifles hope and prayers of revelation
In cold clear neutral chains of human reason.

Hear my patient longing invocation
To waste and sunder or revoke
Those who mock our pious supplication,

Free your shamed and suffering folk
From worldly reason's bitter yoke!


If I were blinded by the throes of passion
And held prisoner in a poisoned mind
Devoid of both sprit and emotion,

Enslaved by instincts of my kind,
I would perchance be seeing import
When none was there to find,

Seeking meaning as a last resort
In omens and illusions
Designs by man of every sort.

Hear all! Who seek a bias or conclusion
In nature's neutral operation
It is all but self induced illusion!

Our treasured frantic machinations
Our hope for special destinations!


If songs and symphonies were measured
By the moods and meter of our universe,
Then symmetry and order would be treasured,

And passion, pride and love perverse
Those fleeting sighs of mortal imperfection,
Would never find a home in nature's verse.

This boundless vision of perfection
Correct and even in its temperament
Predictable and fixed in its direction

Performs it's piece devoid of spark or spontaneity
No rhythmic jumps or altered melody
No maestro changing safe homogeneity.

If this be nature's classic rhapsody
Then life is theater and raucous parody.

2. One set of laws describes all motion.

Motion Motion: Of Mars and Mae West


The riddle of this strange odd pairing
Is what and sundry are they sharing?
Right and left, and little symmetries?
Mates and mass, or field perimeteries?
The answer simple is the notion
That both fit Newton's laws of motion.

3. Energy is conserved.

Celsius: Cosmicergonomics


Add it or subtract it
As the case may be.
Save it in another form
Or burn it gleefully.
No matter the conversion
Even into light
The balance is a constant
A number you can't fight.
What we get is
What we have in
Just another form.
Energy's a unit
In every situation
That follows nature's
Signal rule of
Perfect conservation.

4. Energy always goes from more useful to less useful forms.

Sadimidas: The Entropics


This cosmic rock group's energy
Is like none other you might see.
Its harmony is quite sensational
With heavy movement gravitational.
The instruments might seem eclectic
And some in fact are not electric.
It's repertoire is called fantastic
A cadence compound and elastic.
The beauty of their artistry
Is summed up by its chemistry.
Fans flock seeking entry passes
Tightly squeezed in little masses.
The spectacle is wild frenetic
So vibrant raucous and kinetic.
The surge and end of this fine mess
Is dissipated uselessness.

5. Electricity and magnetism are two aspects of the same force.

Santa Putana: Thank you J.C. Maxwell


Your magic genius dissertation,
Coupled classic correlations,
Merging fact and fertile theory,
On subjects even Greeks found eerie,
Illuminating novel thought
Recasting all that had been taught
Equating charge fields hypothetic,
Electro force wed to magnetic.
This synthesis and subtle insight,
In time, linked matter and it's light
A force of nature once a schism
Called electromagnetism.
Out of these arcane equations
Came our ultra modern nations.
Radar, phones and television
Trace their birth to your fine vision.
All living perturbations known
Are linked to constructs you have sown.
As a science innovator
Your stage is in the main theater.

6. Everything is made of atoms.

S: Thingamajingamabobs


"Matter matters!" mutters mater,
"Air earth fire water
All and every quantity
All of our reality,
Even Eve, or Adam,"
Mutters mater, "matters atom!"

7. Everything – particles, energy, the rate of electron spin – comes in discrete units, and you can’t measure anything without changing it.

Bytes: Quantum Ergo


There is,
Exists in units,
Named and numbered entities:
Spin, speed, space, time, luminosity
Mass, charge, bytes, and even energy.
Each in turn distinct, defined as quantities,
Discrete and fitting, findings found in physical reality.
Measuring these Jiffies, Jots and Joules in nature's things
Alters each, no matter what the artful artifice in seeing.
Subtle labile shifts, perhaps in state or in direction,
Charged in spatial disposition, mode or in complexion.
Only cosmic numbers are in fact mysterious,
Single strange symbolics signal odd relations.
These mathematic puzzlers derived from
Abstracted sums and integrations
Are notable notations
Distinct from

8. Atoms are held together by electron “glue”.

R.P.F Was Here: Gloop


Environment and gravity impose a certain norm
On every earthly entity no matter what the form.
Transform, reduce, or simply rend by whatever way,
Leaves behind a brew and blend, atomic curds and whey,
A complex soup of molecules and basic elements,
Grouped in periodic schools by tiny odd cements.
These negative inclusions and jumping dynamos,
Uncertain and exclusive spinning to and fro,
The inner atom's partner that life is built upon,
The proton and its tether we call the E lec tron.

9. The way material behaves depends on how its atoms are arranged.

C60: Deportment C


When I dance with oxygen I burn and give off light,
Packed into another form I'm then called black graphite,
Squeeze me in a heated state, my atoms in arrangement
Become the diamonds signaling marital engagement.
But heating me in Helium yields the best of all
Strange symmetric molecules known as Buckyballs.
Like all the tango partners extant in things material
Reaction ranges right from nil to passionate empyreal.
Our conduct and deportment depends on circumstance
The partner changes matter in each atomic dance.

10. Nuclear energy comes from the conversion of mass.

Angelicus Depraedor: Dear Enola Gay


I know that you've been wondering
About that long dark flight
That left you still and pondering
The meaning of the light.
It flashed below and lit the skies
Shocking you like thunder,
And leaving all the earth that lie
Below your path asunder.
Your holy mission if you ask us
Was innocent in fact
Like the donkey to Damascus
Ushering new tract.
Your voyage like that fateful trip
Was about perdition
and truth about the light that grips
Sudden new cognition.
That liberating energy
That frightened you my lass
Was nuclear in potency
Conversion of some mass.

11. Everything is made of Quarks and Leptons

“Dinner at the Weirds” Act IV, Scene 1


Singularity. Big bang, followed by expansion. (Enter the Warlocks.)

1. Einstein.    Tis time and space dilated!
2. Bohr.     There's truth in unseen matter!
3. Heisenberg.     Uncertainty's upon us all!
4. Pauli.    Exclude the on intruder!

   Hubble, Bubble, Quantum subtle
    Zeeman, Zwang nad Zusatzregeln!
   Fission, fusion, matters rubble!

(Enter Pecato and three other Warlocks.)

Mix half spin tiny Fermions
With Bosons of a Guage
Binding interactions with
Gluons in exchange.
These odd elusive entities
Which make up everything
Are then in turn reducible
To strange peculiar things.
Electroweakly speaking
For the moment here and now
Elfin quarks and leptons
Confined in families three
Encompass all the matter
That SLAC and CERN can see.
Missing mass and origins
Is what it's all about.
Why in fact it started
Will always be in doubt.

Music and a song: "Time goes by ,etc." (Exit Pecato.)

12. The universe was born at a specific time in the past, and has been expanding ever since.

Bang: Nee


Singularito and Serendipita Bigbang (nee Chance),
Are pleased to announce the arrival and advance
Of Universa Homogenea Isotropica Cosmologia,
Weighing 1054 kilograms and 1026 meters de mesura,
On April 1, 1. Special thanks to Dr. Incognito,
And all the staff of the Hospital St. Primordio.

13. Stars live and die like everything else.

Stardust: Stella Funeralia


Blinks and winks celestial
Are semaphores of night,
Tat make a fool observer
Feel mortal at the sight.
Angst is but a feeling
In those who contemplate
A space time life exclusive
Questioning their fate.
Cosmic rays and microwaves,
The red shift lights you see
Are astronomic elegies
That astronomic elegies
That signal in the sky
A very common ending for
They live and then they die.

14. Every observer sees the same laws of nature.

Sgraffito: Pi are Square on Mungo


Language on the planet Mungo
Is curious you see.
Meaning is a mumbo jumbo
Strange to you and me
Numbers, hyphens, dots and dashes
signify the clause
Verbs are simply backward slashes
Colors mark the pause.
Life in this peculiar orbit
Seems an alchemy,
Defying logic and a fit,
To reality.
Life is lived in giant crystals
Hydrogen is fuel.
Genes are packed in little missiles
Reproductive tools.
These diverse cosmic denizens
Of whatever name
Share with earthly citizens
Rules that are the same.
For time space relativity
Is a certain norm
Observers share with entities
Even Mungo forms.

15. The surface of the Earth is constantly changing, and no feature on Earth is permanent.

Landscapes: da Tectonica


No sheeted dike
This serpentine subductress.
A molten heart plutonic
Pours forth from depths
Abyssolithic and beyond.
Young volcanics wait
In timid isostasy,
Holding in those forces
Wild and orogenic.
Now tongues pulse and
Plunge between the margins,
Leaving marked pillows and
Signs of arcing thrusts.
Time forgotten and eras
Out of mind, she has docked
Her wanton undulations.
Having tasted sediments of life,
Her wrinkled skin like
Auriferous gravel turned
Lead blue with time,
Show suture lines of age.
Tectonica! Tectonica!
Gondwonian maiden!
Shifting slowly like the
Greta Gabbro of her cline

16. Everything on Earth operates in cycles.

El Nino: R.I.P. Not

R.I.P. , NOT

Weather is,
Tides are,
Sex is,
Days and nights are,
Hunger is,,
Epidemics are,
Ocean current is,
Brain waves are,
Sleep is,
Harvests are,
Flowering is,
Magnetic flips are,
Metabolism is,
Cell's lives are,
Hair growth is,
Economies are,

17. All living things are made from cells, the chemical factories of life.

Kibbutz: To Cella


When to the birth of life in waters deep
I pause in silent wonder at the fate
Of other paths impossible to keep;
No simple rule is seen nor can I state:
The whence and moment of that quickened pulse,
Nor what the course across the river Styx.
Save that the outer castle walls expulse
The maelstrom torrent that would rend and mix.
Partners joined in selfish blind adventure
Trapping solar rays in verdant plastid.
Transforming all sundry sweet for nurture,
Fending all attack both outside and amid.
Such replicated forms in union wrought
Diversity and order never thought.

18. All life is based on the same genetic code.

Dick, Dick, Dick, and Rick: Alpha, Tango, Gimel, Charlie



19. All forms of life evolved by natural selection.

Road Kill: Eeenie, Meenie, Mynee, Moe


Contingency and gene mutation
Genetic drift and isolation,
All of this and repetition
Led to life in this rendition.
In every locus, niche or place
Adaptation is a race.
Survivors so become the winners
Losers often simply dinners.
Flight not fight and surreptition
Win for some the competition.
Some achieved the high distinction
Of special sudden mass extinction,
Becoming mere apostrophes
By losing to catastrophes
And disappearing into voids
Erased by cosmic asteroids.
All in part are come solution
To the fact of evolution.
Circumstance enhanced by chance
Is real in every nook you glance.
The force that acts in this direction
Is luck and natural selection.

20. All life is connected.

Connexions: Vita Reticulata


Life in every niche you find,
is linked to each and every
form above and next
connecting in a manner
unresolved by static
simple views that miss those
subtle flows and nurture lines
grouping all
in teeming tapestries,
you find in every niche of life.

In case you are all wondering, this looks like an exercise in “speaking in tongues”, and, of course, it is. Except it is not directed at any “god”. Well, maybe it is…the god of the muses, “Errato Jones”. Ciao.

Louis Visentin is the outgoing President of Brandon University. We are grateful for his generous support of the Creative Arts at this university and in general, and delighted to feature his talent in interdisciplinary multimedia expression and dialogue.

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