Essence of research in a single image


Joshua Albers, a master’s student in fine arts and new media, won first place for, “Threshold,” 11 images of himself walking through a room.

If you ever feel like an insignificant speck in the universe, the first-place artwork in the Graduate College’s sixth annual “Image of Research” competition will reassure you that you’re occupying space significantly.

Joshua Albers, a master’s of fine arts student in new media and a research assistant in the Electronic Visualization Laboratory, made “Threshold” to show how space is occupied over time.

Albers recorded 11 images of himself walking through a room using a Microsoft Kinect, which he describes as a video game controller that can also be used as a 3D scanner.

The resulting image indicates “the volumetric qualities of my motion through space as an accumulation of moments, rather than individual, discrete slices of time,” he says in describing his contest entry.

“By examining both the figure and its surroundings, I hope to gain a deeper understanding of how space affects, and is affected by, its inhabitants.”

Second place went to another EVL research assistant, Khairi Reda, a Ph.D. student in computer science, for “A Nanoscale Forest Seen through a Big Lens.” Third-place winner was Akshay Pandey in biochemistry and molecular genetics for “Crystals: Clarity in Refraction.”

"A Nanoscale Forest Seen through a Big Lens"

Khairi Reda’s second-place entry, “A Nanoscale Forest Seen through a Big Lens.”

Honorable mention awards went to Maged Guerguis, architecture, Mark Lloyd, biological sciences, and Rebecca Seifried, anthropology.

The winning images included protein crystals, architectural forms based on intersecting Bartlett pears, the human ileum in a compilation of thousands of fluorescent photomicrographs, and ruins from a deserted Greek village.

Each year, 70 to 90 graduate researchers submit intriguing photos, computer images, scans and drawings to an interdisciplinary jury. Criteria for judging include the originality of the image and the research it represents, the relationship between the image and the research, and the aesthetic appeal of the image.

This year, 77 images were entered from graduate researchers in 35 departments throughout campus.

The competition, which showcases the broad range of research at UIC, presents research as a combination of discovery and creativity.

The six winning images, with descriptions by the researchers, were displayed in the lobby of the Daley Library through May 31.

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