Piece description from the artist
The Cayley tree is a mathematical object related to a Bethe Lattice (see the wikipedia article for an overview here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bethe_lattice). It’s essentially a branched structure. Each node joining the branches in the “tree” has three branches emanating from it (think of it as a trunk that forks into two branches at the node). Each branch terminates at another node which also branches. A smooth plane has two dimensions and a smooth line has one dimension, but a Cayley tree has an intermediate dimensionality. This can be useful for certain types of calculations: where a fractal surface either better reflects the physics of the system, or where the symmetry of the Cayley tree simplifies the physics and/or math. In “Variation on a Cayley Tree” some liberties were taken with the strict branching geometry and topology of the mathematical object, in order to map it onto a form that actually resembles a tree. The drawing “Variation on a Cayley tree” is part of a series of drawings and paintings examining tree symbolism in nature, and in the world of scientific ideas.
The original drawing is now sold.
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