Liquid Crystals: Science meets Art – Ingo Dierking

About the Artwork

Everybody uses liquid crystals in the displays of their mobile phones, flat screen TVs, and even as detergents and soaps on a daily basis, but only few actually know what they are. Liquid crystals are a 4th state of matter,  liquids which exhibit crystal-like behaviour in addition to fluidity. They are classed into a group of materials that is called Soft Matter, due to their very small elasticity and easy deformability under external stimuli. Yet, it is this softness, that not only allows for the applications of liquid crystals, but also gives rise to their beauty when viewed between polarizers in a microscope. On the small, microscopic scale, a whole new and exciting world of colours, structures, and defects can be seen, that one can sincerely talk about science creating art. Seamlessly on its own, simply through self-organization, liquid crystals create an aesthetics that is very pleasing to the eye, and gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “Science meets Art”.

About the Artist

Ingo Dierking is a physics academic at the University of Manchester, working in the field of Soft Matter for the last 25 years, with several books and far more than 100 scientific publications carrying his name. He has lived and worked in several countries, Germany, Denmark, the United States, Sweden and for the last fifteen years in the United Kingdom. Starting with photography at an early age, Ingo Dierking has developed an interest in a variety of artistic expressions. His work was shown in more than 20 solo exhibitions, mainly in Germany. His last exhibitions in the Manchester area could be seen at the Stockport Art Gallery, the Koffee Pot, and Manchester Cathedral.

Fuelled by the aesthetic images that science can produce, Ingo Dierking uses his research in liquid crystals, fractals and microscopy in public outreach events, which range from cafe scientifique, talks at schools, all the way to large events like the “Big Bang” or the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition. Combining science with art opens a new and fascinating avenue to be creative and interest the public in the science of today and the possible applications of tomorrow.