Who would think that those scientists at Northwestern University, peering into their microscopes as they endeavor to find cures for the ills of society, would discover beautiful art in the process? Well, it happens, and the art is going on display this week at the Evanston Art Center.

“Capturing the Beauty of Science,” in fact, is an annual scientific images contest sponsored by Science in Society at Northwestern.

It celebrates and showcases the aesthetic side of research, featuring the work of university faculty, students, and staff, in disciplines from genetics to engineering.

Judged by an interdisciplinary panel of local artists, scientists, and community leaders, each image comes from a Northwestern research project and cannot be fundamentally altered from its original form. Hence, the images represent both scientific data and art.

The exhibit at the Evanston Art Center, 2603 Sheridan Road, opens Thursday with a reception from 6:30 to 9 p.m. that features a short talk by the 2011 contest winner Andrew Koltonow.  His photo of zinc oxide nanoparticles  was a byproduct of his research into developing more efficient solar cells.

Top: The 2011 award winning art by Andrew Koltonow

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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