Piece description from the artist
There is a branch of science that deals explicitly with the properties of solids and liquids (condensed matter): Condensed Matter Physics, Materials Science, and for a different “flavor”, Solid State Chemistry. In Condensed matter, there are materials that are hard and highly ordered (crystalline), and often electron-rich. These are the metals, semiconductors, and ceramics that drive the high-tech industry. There are other materials that are less ordered, often more complex, and frequently fragile or “soft”. These are the materials of life, Biophysics, colloid science, and Soft Matter Physics.
People who are interested in lattice animals work in fields like Polymer Physics, Soft Matter, Colloidal Chemistry, and Rheology. They study topics like phase transitions, gelation, networks (in materials), percolation, complex fluids, relaxation phenomena, polymer dynamics, and transport
An important concept in soft matter is the idea that soft bits of “stuff” can often connect up to form more complex larger shapes. If enough of these shapes form connections to each other, and they bridge the entire volume of soft matter, they from a network. The transition from isolated shapes to a network creates changes in the properties of the material.
The isolated shapes that form on the way to this network are called “Lattice animals."
Dr. Regina Valluzzi has an extensive scientific background in nanotechnology and biophysics. She has been a scientist in the chemical industry, a green chemistry researcher, a research professor at the engineering school at Tufts, a start-up founder engaged in technology commercialization, and a start-up and commercialization consultant.
Even during periods of intense activity as a scientist, Dr. Valluzzi has always held a strong interest in the visual arts and in visual information. While she majored in Materials Science at MIT, she also obtained a second degree in music and a minor in visual studies. Visual arts have managed to permeate her technical work; during her Ph.D in Polymer Science and Engineering at UMass Amherst, she completed a thesis that required advanced electron microscopy, image analysis, and theoretical data modeling. These experiences provided the visual insight and information that now influences much of her artwork.
Dr. Valluzzi’s work has been included in private collections across the US, UK, Germany, Canada, Japan, Netherlands, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Dubai and Malta, and in the corporate collection of "Seyfarth Shaw" Boston law offices around Boston. She has a selection of pieces on loan to the MIT Materials Science and Engineering Department as indoor public art. Her accomplishments include having published thirty articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals, having made several scientific patents, having been a subject matter expert for an encyclopedia chapter, and having been invited to speak at science talks across the US, Europe, and Japan.
Her newsletter is a good source of ongoing information: http://eepurl.com/daiLQ