Tuesday, January 13, 2015

"Science As Art": UNO Graduate Student Takes Home Prize from Materials Research Society

University of New Orleans doctoral student Taha Rostamzadeh took home second prize in the Materials Research Society's "Science as Art" competition with his entry "A Rose by Any Other Name."University of New Orleans doctoral student Taha Rostamzadeh took home second prize in the Materials Research Society's "Science as Art" competition with his entry "A Rose by Any Other Name."

Research scientists at the University of New Orleans recently showed their artistic side when they participated in the “Science as Art” competition at the fall meeting of the Materials Research Society in Boston. UNO researchers received second place recognition for their submission “A Rose by Any Other Name.”

Visualization methods provide an important tool in materials science for the analysis and presentation of scientific work,” read rules of the competition. “Images can often convey information in a way that tables of data or equations cannot match. Occasionally, scientific images transcend their role as a medium for transmitting information, and contain the aesthetic qualities that transform them into objects of beauty and art.”

For more than 40 years, the Materials Research Society has worked to advance interdisciplinary materials research. Sixteen thousand members strong, the growing organization pulls its membership from physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics and engineering. The “Science as Art” competition took place at the organization’s fall meeting, held in early December at the Hynes Convention Center and Sheraton Boston Hotel.

“A Rose by Any Other Name…” was created by UNO doctoral student Taha Rostamzadeh, who works in the laboratory of UNO President’s Research Professor in Chemistry John Wiley, and his colleague and friend Korosh Mahmoodi, who is a graduate student at the University of North Texas.

The “science as art” consists of unusually shaped flower-like micron-sized ZnO crystals, Wiley said. (A micron is about 100 times smaller than a human hair; ZnO is used in a number of technologically significant application including as a UV absorbing agents in sun screens.)

Rostamzadeh grew the crystals in their laboratory in the Department of Chemistry then collected black and white images of the crystals using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) in UNO’s Advanced Materials Research Institute (AMRI), where Wiley is associate director. Mahmoodi helped him to a red coloration with a green tint to enhance the rose-like features.  

The prize is not the first for Rostamzadeh, a native of Iran. In May, the University of New Orleans doctoral student in chemistry won a $5,000 prize from the International Precious Metals Institute (IPMI) that will help support his research of very small gold particles. He received he Gemini Industries Student Award at the IPMI's 38th annual conference, held in June in Orlando, Fla. 

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