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Stanford's explosive exercise in creativity

What better way to shake out the old ideas and make way for new ones than an afternoon spent setting off explosions? Every year Stanford's Department of Chemical and Systems Biology hosts an artist in residence for a week of creativity building. This year's visitor, sculptor Alyson Shotz, took groups to a hot glass studio where they conducted some experiments - among them, surrounding various foods, from meatballs to marshmallow Peeps, in molten glass. This turns out to make a nice blast.

I wrote about the visit in today's Inside Stanford Medicine (which has some great images of their creations).

Shotz's ultimate goal was to see how the resulting glass pieces look under a microscope, which she did back at Stanford. As I wrote in the story:

“It was very surprising to see what ended up on the glass after all of the fire and explosions,” said Shotz. “The structures I saw changed from piece to piece, even if I was looking at the same material on the surface. There was a combination of organic and inorganic that was also interesting — the way some substances, like salt or baking soda, got embedded in the glass.”

Photo of Alyson Shotz (left) and members of the Department of Chemical and Systems Biology by Norbert von der Groeben

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