Self portraits

Self portraits

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Counting Backwards by Nines

I had a job at a university that shall remain unnamed. I worked there as a scientist in the Department of Public Health and Epidemiology. One thing that I did for a couple of years was a function that they called "Missing Foods", meaning that I did support work for researchers throughout the nation on topics related to food and nutrition. When these investigators couldn't find a match from the18,000 foods in our department's database, I provided them with a specific formula for a food they could plug into their study.

Missing Foods was a job that nobody wanted to do, or only the extremely obsessive compulsive could do, because it involved 8 hours of researching foods and doing Sudoku each day. Not actual Sudoku, but that's the best way to explain the computer program which one uses to calculate and formulate the Missing Food. Each number changed by the user of the Missing Foods software results in all numerals in the grid to change. The final formula, when resolved, is an act of grace, of mathematical poetry, completeness. And, to the third decimal point, a place so infinitely and ridiculously small.

Portrait of Lu (Lutetium 71), acrylic on BFK rives, 29 x 22", 2008

Someone visiting my studio recently asked, "Why the Periodic Table of the Elements?" It's just one of my favorite things. Such a beautiful, perfectly organized representation of something absolutely minute. So, imagine my excitement when I found my friend, Lu, on the periodic table!Who knew that she was corrosion-resistant?!
And, that her name originates from the Latin word Lutetia, meaning Paris.
And, that her melting point is 1656.0 °C - 1929.15 °K, boiling point is  3315.0 °C - 3588.15 °K

And, sadly, (for lutetium, but certainly not for Lu)  ~
Common Uses:  No known uses 
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