Ingo Dierking, featured ILCC liquid crystal artist, November 2015

Ingo Dierking is a Senior Lecturer / Associate Professor at the School of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Manchester. Besides research on a variety of liquid crystal systems and properties, as well as liquid crystal composite systems like polymer-stabilized liquid crystals, liquid crystal – nanotube dispersions, and multifunctional liquid crystal – nano and micro-particle dispersions, he is holding public engagement events and science based art exhibitions.
The textures of liquid crystals are often seen as a prime example for Art in Science. They show amazing structures and colours, which is due to the interplay between birefringence and extremely small elastic constants, thus large deformations, when compared to solid state materials. And indeed, liquid crystalline textures in polarized light microscopy are fantastic to look at and aesthetically very pleasing. But are they really Art? Not just an image reproduction that nature developed, often more or less by chance? Should not the artist add his or her own interpretation to actually produce a work of Art by adding a creative component? This is attempted with this photograph of a ferroelectric liquid crystal texture, taken with an Olympus BH-2 polarizing microscope and a x10 (yellow) objective. The longer side length of the image is approximately 500 micrometers. In an additional step, the photograph is subjected to image manipulation software PhotoShop and PhotoScape using one of the special effects features which depend on the user actively changing the image. To give it a title, one may call the photograph “Turbulent Textures”. Picture width is 500 micrometer.

Jury comment: A mesmerizing image constructed from a POM image of an FLC - nature and scientist together create a piece of art.