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Art of Research 2016

The 2016 Art of Research photo contest was a great success! We received over 30 high-quality entries spanning the disciplines from students, faculty, and staff. Prizes were awarded in the following amounts: First Prize – $500, Second Prize – $300, Third Prize – $200, Honourable Mention – $100. All winning and shortlisted images will be featured in the next issue of (e)AFFECT.

Thank you to all of the budding photographers who submitted images which were creative, thought-provoking, and proved that research is an artistic endeavour!

Highlighted below are the contest winners and shortlisted images. Click on any image to view a larger version. Please contact the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research) at research@queensu.ca if you have any questions.

First Prize

Tulugak on the Crucifix

Tulugak on the Crucifix by Norman Vorano

Norman Vorano
Faculty, Art History & Art Conservation

Location: Pond Inlet, Nunavut

Dr. Norman Vorano was conducting historical research with Inuit elders in Nunavut in April and May of 2016. One woman recounted the loss of cultural traditions as a result of the changes that happened during the twentieth century, particularly from residential schools, the missionaries, and the waves of southerners who flooded into the Arctic after the Second World War. After they broke for lunch, Vorano stepped outside. The white sky was indistinguishable from the ground. He walked past a towering crucifix erected behind the Catholic Church, on an imposing hill overlooking the community. A raven flew down from the ethereal sky, perched on the Crucifix, and began vocalizing. For Western culture, the raven is a harbinger of death. For Inuit culture, tulugak – raven – is a tricky fellow that symbolizes creation.

Second Prize

Window on a Window to the Universe

Window on a Window to the Universe by Mark Chen

Mark Chen
Faculty, Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy

Location: SNOLAB, Sudbury, Ontario

An underwater camera mounted in the SNO+ (Sudbury Neutrino Observatory) neutrino detector captures a snapshot image when the 12-metre diameter acrylic sphere is 85% full. Viewed from below, ropes are seen crisscrossing the top of the sphere extending down (foreground), and each of the shiny cells that are visible is a 20-cm diameter super-sensitive light detector. The water-air interface inside and outside the acrylic spherical tank creates visual distortions as light refracts at the optical boundary. Once full, the upgraded detector turns on in Fall 2016, ten years after the original SNO detector completed its Nobel-prize winning studies.

Third Prize


Aldonza by Tim Fort

Tim Fort
Faculty, Dan School of Drama & Music

Location: Mainstage, Weston Playhouse, Vermont

This moment arrives at the end of the staging for the musical number "Aldonza" from The Man of La Mancha – one of two musicals Dr. Tim Fort directed at the Weston Playhouse in Vermont in the summer of 2016. Many of the show's creative team are Broadway veterans, including the designer and the performer playing Aldonza – whose character is pictured ignoring the aggressions of the muleteers as they sing to her in this musical version of the Don Quixote story. Dr. Fort’s research interests lie in lighting and staging, and he has been a producing director at the Weston Playhouse for the past 30 years.

Honourable Mention

Amphibian from the Inside

Amphibian from the Inside by Rute Clemente Carvalho

Rute Clemente Carvalho
Postdoc, Biology

Location: Zeiss stereomicroscope in the laboratory

The evolutionary process called miniaturization can lead to morphological changes in body structures. The internal morphology of tiny specimens can be seen/observed using a special staining technique. This method digests the muscles, making them transparent, and colours the bones and cartilages. In the case of this froglet, it has a body size of around 18mm, and features like osteoderms in the skin and hyperossification on the skeleton can be observed. The knowledge of morphological structures can help researchers understand the evolution of the species’ behaviour and ecology of the species, and its phylogenetic relationships with related species.

Shortlisted Images

Evelyn Mitchell and her “Burler”

Evelyn Mitchell and her “Burler” by Laura Murray

Laura Murray
Faculty, English and Cultural Studies

Location: Kingston, Ontario

Through oral history and archival research, the Swamp Ward and Inner Harbour History Project is revealing the twentieth-century history of two of the oldest neighbourhoods in Kingston, Ontario. Evelyn Mitchell worked at Hield Brothers Woolen Mill in the 1950s when she first arrived in Kingston from Yorkshire. In her interview, she describes in great detail the process by which she did “invisible mending” on the cloth coming out of the looms, picking out and pushing through loose threads. Here she displays the tool she used, a “burler,” which she has saved to this day.

5000m High Sunset in the Andes

5000m High Sunset in the Andes by Chris Grooms

Chris Grooms
Staff, Biology

Location: Lake Sibinacocha, Cusco, Peru

Lake Sibinacocha is the 22nd highest lake in the world. Storms from the Amazon push up over the mountains, depositing snow on icecaps feeding high elevation lakes. Andean societies are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climatic change on freshwater systems. Climate change will exacerbate water quality and quantity problems affecting millions of people. Warming in the Andes is occurring at rates nearly twice the global average. The effects on Andean lakes and ecosystems remain largely unknown, despite their importance to people and biodiversity. The objective of Grooms’s research is to assess the impacts of climate change on lakes.

Phantasie Ist Alles

Phantasie Ist Alles by Julia Partington

Julia Partington
Undergraduate student, English

Location: Museum Island, Berlin, Germany

Although I am an English major, I also study other languages and was fascinated by this piece of graffiti that I found on Museum Island in Berlin. Translated from German to English, it says, “Imagination is everything, it is the preview to the coming events of life.” This was said by Albert Einstein, and while his discipline is physics, different from mine, we both see the beauty of creativity. His creativity is in the stars, and mine is in language and literature. Arts and science are bound together in this short expression. A treasure waiting on Museum Island for me to embrace and understand.


Polypyrrole by Danesh Roudini

Danesh Roudini
Faculty, Bader International Study Centre

Location: Kingston University, UK

The film morphology of electrochemically synthesized conducting polymers is widely dependent on electropolymerisation conditions. Some factors, like type of anions, solvent, and deposition rate, have a great influence on the final polymer quality and morphology. The SEM image shows electrochemically synthesized polypyrrole film on platinum electrode. Polypyrrole has high electrical conductivity and good environmental stability and has potential applications such as sensors, electrodes for rechargeable batteries, corrosion-protecting materials, electrochromic devices and membranes.


Magdalene by Una D’Elia

Una D’Elia
Faculty, Art History & Art Conservation

Location: Church of Santa Maria della Vita, Bologna

For over 550 years, the passionate Magdalene has been running with her veil streaming behind, screaming, to the body of Jesus, dead on the ground. This life-size statue, originally painted to mimic flesh and clothes, pushes the limits of the medium, terracotta. Renaissance men and women could walk among Niccolo dell’Arca’s sculptures, feeling as if they were present at this terrible moment in Christian history. Dr. Una D’Elia’s research focuses on such living sculptures, stories of statues coming to life, and people touching, dressing, attacking, and generally treating sculptures as if they were alive.

“Non-wetting” Water

Non-wetting Water by Timothy Hutama

Timothy Hutama
Master’s student, Chemistry

Location: Chernoff Hall, Kingston, Ontario

This drop sits on a super-hydrophobic surface that is unable to become wet because its affinity to water is less than what water has for itself. Therefore, water forms small, easily movable drops on the surface rather than a single puddle. While these surfaces have been used to keep cities free from graffiti, the Oleschuk group’s research involves using these surfaces in creative ways, such as the determination of beer’s alcohol content or to provide a platform that uniquely manipulates drops using magnets to miniaturize analytical chemical methods.