February STEAM Exchange

February 26, 2019
Derek Sawyer talking about the seismograph

By: Maria Bergman, Student  Assistant for the STEAM Factory

A ripple of excitement and curiosity was felt in STEAM at this month’s salon-style seminar series as it covered waves as interpreted through astronomy, art, and earth science. The night consisted of interesting conversations, delicious food, and curious minds here to listen and learn. Asimina Kiourti, an Associate Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering, helped plan an evening based off the fascinating topic- Waves. In her research field, a wave is in the form of sinusoidal waveforms moving through time and distance to communicate wirelessly. The multi-faceted definition of the word sparked her interest in this topic. 
To start off the evening, Laura Lopez, an Assistant Professor in the Astronomy Department at The Ohio State University introduced her work with rays in space. She uses data from across the electromagnetic spectrum to study regions in space. Lopez showed us visual effects of x-rays, and other wave properties in viewing stars in space. We looked at stars as they formed and exploded, and the different effects waves gave in the clarity with which we could view the astronomical phenomena. 
Moving on to a unique medium of waves, TradeMark Gunderson, a visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Art at The Ohio State University walked us through the visual effects of internet art movements. TradeMark is a New Media Art instructor, and he introduced us to the quickly changing world of internet art, and movements such as the My Little Pony Battle- the Brony faction. TradeMark’s world of technological art uses pixels and programing and is around in waves of popularity and force. The originality and peculiar opportunities on the internet make his area of study one that most of the audience had never imagined or seen before. 
Derek Sawyer, an Assistant Professor in the School of Earth Sciences at The Ohio State University concluded our evening talking about his work with seismographs, and underwater tectonics and landslides. On marine research expeditions, Sawyer studies the sedimentary systems and geological formations to better understand landslides and earthquakes. Sawyer uses waves to map the ocean floor, and tectonic plates on the ocean surface to better understand these environmental events. He brought with him a large printed seismograph of a region in Japan, which helped tie together the various aspects of the conversations on waves through art and science. 
The seminar was a success with a high volume of conversations and questions for our presenters enjoyed alongside good food and great people. Get ready to attend next months STEAM Exchange, where the topic is Ice and Fire.