One of the first discoveries of solar energy was made in a UW-Madison lab and sketched to artistically explain the concept. This drawing, pulled from the archives from 1957, is displayed among the artwork of other original scientific ideas in a Union South exhibit.
The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation display, “The Artistry of Innovation: WARF Patent Drawings Through Time,” shows discoveries that were introduced by scientists as early as the 1930s along with several contemporary images. WARF Director of Strategic Communications Jeanan Yasiri Moe said the exhibit is remarkable because it shows how the scientists used artistry to translate their ideas to people who have the power to advance their designs.
“Not all patents require a drawing,” Moe said. “But in some cases it's really helpful to be able to artistically render how this discovery is going to functionally work, and those are some of the drawings that we have on display.”
The patents display a wide range of ideas that WARF has collected over its 90 years as an organization. These drawings include devices such as a machine that can tie shoes and a Braille watch, among others.
“We tried to find a broad scope of patents to exhibit,” Moe said. “We wanted to find drawings that would represent different parts of campus. You'll see some from physical sciences, others from biological, some from the computational science area and seemingly practical devices.”
Moe said the exhibit will connect WARF to the public and inform people what they do, which she said many people are unaware of. They came up with the idea to display science through art nearly a year ago and were given the nod by the Wisconsin Union Directorate Art Committee to have their display in Union South after a competitive proposal process. The display will be open to the public in Gallery 1308 until Nov. 14.
Moe said WARF is excited to have their exhibit open during the Wisconsin Science Festival, which occurs during the third week of October.
“We know that there will be a lot of people coming to campus and looking around town for interesting ways to experience science,” Moe said. “We're hoping that this will be one of those ways that people can enjoy the week.”