What oscillates? From swinging pendulums to throbbing beats and harmonics, Oscillations are repetitive variations from one state to another that occur usually over time. Found in human-made systems and in physical, biological, and informational processes, they can arise, either by design or by accident. Sometimes they’re a critical component, essential to the correct function of a system, other times they might be a curiosity or a nuisance, or even a catastrophic force. Although well documented there are oscillations that we still can’t quite mathematically explain, from the vibrations of Eulers disk to the peculiar regular and chaotic motion of a Swinging Spring. In short, oscillations are ubiquitous and as such the perfect fodder for a Science Gallery exhibition!
OSCILLATOR sees us reunite with two previous Science Gallery curators — Douglas Repetto [ARTBOTS 2008) and Stefan Hutzler [BUBBLE 2009], to explore a vibratory world of motion and cycles. Like many of our exhibitions, the idea for OSCILLATOR came directly from our community. Proposed initially by Douglas just over twelve months ago, the theme lends itself remarkably well to interrogation by a wide audience of artists, designers, chemists, physicists, engineers, geologists, economists, biologists. mathematicians and musicians. We’re indebted to Douglas, Stefan and colleagues in the Schools of Physics, Physiology and Chemistry who have given of their time and expertise in bringing the exhibition together.
You will find a range of diverse exhibits, experiments and events at OSCILLATOR exploring electricity, economics, pulsars, brainwaves, tectonic plates, musical harmonies, pendulums, chemical reactions, algorithms, heart beats and feedback. Whether you’re marvelling at the synchronicity of a pendulum wave or intrigued by your own brain activity, we’ve put together an interactive exhibition that should have something for everyones tastes and interests. And hopefully, at the same time, expose the sometimes unseen motion, cycles and vibrations of our oscillatory world.
In the first Science Gallery podcast of 2013 OSCILLATOR curator Douglas Repetto spoke to us about the central themes of the exhibition.