Jing (Sophie) XiaUCLA Psychobiology Major Honors 177 Professor Vesna June 02, 2012
Introduction:My name is Jing (Sophie) Xia and I am a fourth year Psychobiology Major. I was alwaysinterested in art when I was little but in school, I always seemed to excel and focus more onscience. Before these lectures, I saw the separation of science and art as two distinctive culturesmainly because of the influence of my educational system. For instance, as a UCLA SouthCampus Major (Math and Sciences), I rarely get the opportunity to interact with students fromNorth Campus Majors (Humanities and Arts) or take classes with them. This physical separationalone hinders scientists and arts from developing interactively. As a science major, I agree withsome of the ideas from RSA Animate- “Changing Education Paradigms” in that education isfocused on conformity with the growth of standardized tests. School functions similar to that of afactory and students like me are taught to learn linearly and without creativity. Hence, I feel likemy divergent creativity skills have deteriorated through my educational years.I found it amusing that the Oxford Dictionary had no word “science” before the 1860’s and thatthe first time “science” was termed, it was an analog to artist. I now question the separation in artand science due to multiple reasons. For instance, the stereotypical images of scientists andartists in my head have many similar characteristics. Also, I agree with Goethe that as a scientist,one is not a passive observer but rather a participatory individual.I am excited to learn more about how science and art integrate.(How science and art integrate to promote messages about food, healthy eating, and globalsustainability).
(The physical separation between UCLA North and South Campus Majors).
References: 1. Jennifer Jacquet . Guilty Planet. 2010. Photograph. World Science Festival, Berkeley. Web. 9 Apr 2012. <http://worldsciencefestival.com/blog/migrations_between_science_and_art>. 2. Lehrer, Jonah. "Science Needs to Find a Place for the Arts." Seed. 08 04 2012: n. page. Web. 9 Apr. 2012. <http://seedmagazine.com/content/article/the_future_of_science_is_art/>. 3. Love, Tim. "Science and Arts." Litrefs Articles. N.p., 01 Jan 2011. Web. 9 Apr. 2012. <http://litrefsarticles.blogspot.com/2011/01/science-and-arts.html>. 4. Skomorowska, Amica. "Beauty, Charm, and Strangeness: Art and Science as Metaphor." Lapidarium notes. N.p., 12 03 2012. Web. 9 Apr. 2012. <http://aminotes.tumblr.com/post/18660520623/beauty-charm-and-strangeness.... 5. UCLA Campus Map. 2011. Photograph. UCLA, Los Angeles. 6. Lehrer, Jonah. "Science Needs to Find a Place for the Arts." Seed. 08 04 2012: n. page. Web. 9 Apr. 2012. <http://seedmagazine.com/content/article/the_future_of_science_is_art/>.
GMO Food and My Diet:As a college student, I live on a tight budget and usually buy low to middle priced items in thelocal grocery store, Ralphs. I eat out at fast foods or restaurants for about four meals per week.For the rest of the week when I’m not running on a busy schedule, I try to cook my own mealsfor lunch and dinner. I cook easy meals such as spaghetti, rice and broccoli, and some Chinesecuisine that include as tomato and eggs. When I go home on the weekends, my parents to buyand cook organic vegetable and meat. But I tend to not purchase organic foods because they aremostly twice or three times the price of non-organic foods.I would like to research more about the chicken I eat. I usually cook Farmer John CaliforniaNatural Smoked Chicken or other similarly popular brands. I never knew that the meat I eat wasso industrialized and unnatural until I saw the movie Food, Inc. I realized these chickens aremass-produced and raised in the dark and packed in cages that do not allow movement. They arefed not grains or natural seeds but the intestines and leftover meat from cows or other animals.They are grown so large that they are unable to move and their bodies are consisted of not leanmuscle but unhealthy fat. The chickens are fed antibiotics, GMO Food, and other chemicals tomake them grow large merely for the sake of profit. After watching the movie I never looked atdinner the same way again. I now see a link between GMO foods and industrialized meat andhow these foods can directly influence my health.
References: 1. Anne Smith. Food, Inc. - You Can Change The World One Bite At A Time . 2009. Photograph. Let it Shine, Pennsylvania. Web. 14 Apr 2012. <http://anne99.blogspot.com/2009/11/food-inc-you-can-change-world-one-bit....
2. Cancer Risk Reduction. 2011. Photograph. Organic Food BenefitsWeb. 14 Apr 2012. <http://foods.organicxbenefits.com/organic-food-benefits-cancer-reduction/>.3. GMO feed to Chicken . 2012. Photograph. Agricultural Blog, Pakistan. Web. 14 Apr 2012. <http://pakagri.blogspot.com/2012/01/gmo-feed-to-chicken-picture.html>.4. Sprague, Jonathan. "Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food." Time Magazine Health. 20 Aug 2009: n. page. Web. 14 Apr. 2012. <www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1917726,00.html>">http://www.time.com /time/magazine/article/0,9171,1917726,00.html>.5. Wilner, Nicole. "What is Industrial Food?." TLC. TLC, 2010. Web. 14 Apr 2012. <http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/understanding-food-labels5.htm>.
My Relationship with Animals:I have an adorable kitty that resembles the physical appearance of Garfield. I love coming hometo him because he always greets me with warmth and elegance. It always cheers me up when Isee him even after a bad day. I am very fond of furry pets of all types because they provideunconditional support, companionship, and even entertainment. I believe that for the sake ofcompanionship, owners should appreciate pets the way they are naturally and not have to havegenetically engineered pets. Genetically engineered animals may yield imperfect results such asunpredictable growth and development and even other debilitating health issues. Pet ownersshould appreciate pets the away they are and not seek perfection in pet’s breed, physicalappearance, or temperament.
On the other hand, cloning animals may be progressive in that the research results may benefithumans in the future. It is still very controversial because these types of research also carry greatrisks. For instance, Dolly, the first successful cloning of a mammal from adult cells, lived abouthalf the age of that of the average sheep and had illnesses similar to those of old sheep while shewas still young.Steven Kurtz story serves as evidence that the government often has motives other than the mostapparent one. It was frustrating to see that the FBI did not act reasonably and simply framedSteven Kurtz because they wanted to end his research. Obviously Kurtz’ research served asthreatening to the U.S. government so that the FBI made an excuse to accuse Kurtz. Thegovernment restricts the media and publications about issues that are controversial, thus we oftendo not hear the truth. Kurtz was researching for the sake of the public health but since he did notbenefit the government in anyway, the government was willing to use any excuse to frame him.The lesson is to always be doubtful of the media and what the government tells (and don’t tell)you.References:
1. Dolly, Cloned Sheep | Mar. 10, 1997. 1997. Photograph. TIME MagazineWeb. 24 Apr 2012. < http://www.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19970310,00.html>2. "Genetic Engineering." Kindness and Care for Animals. MSPCA–Angell, 24 Feb 2011. Web. 24 Apr. 2012. < http://www.mspca.org/programs/animal-protection- legislation/animal-welfa....>.3. Messer, Mel. "Genetically Modified Pets." Care to Make a Difference. N.p., 30 Dec 2008. Web. 24 Apr. 2012. < http://www.care2.com/greenliving/genetically-modified-pets.html>.4. "Observing life and pursuing my reflections ." N.p., 24 Feb 2012. Web. 24 Apr. 2012. < http://www.liekearends.com/funny/spirituality-and-smelly-feet>.5. "1996: July – Dolly." Oracle Think Quest. Roslin Institute, n. d. Web. 24 Apr. 2012. <http://library.thinkquest.org/C0122429/history/1996.htm>.
Noa Kaplan, Nutrition, and Mental Health:Noa Kaplan’s works focused on texture and bringing awareness about diets and microscopicstructures. My favorite piece of her art work is the “Pollen”, in which she magnified one singlepiece of pollen and dripped honey from an illuminated bottle above the pollen. It explored therelationship between the fruitful honey that bees make and the great amount of effort that itreally takes to create such delicious honey. It not only reflected her own personal growth in herchanging diet but also provoked questions such as “is it moral to take honey from such hardworking bees and sell it in such massive amounts?” I really enjoyed this piece because from herpresentation, I can really tell that she grew as a person throughout this piece of art.I also enjoyed her piece on the “Dust Bunny”. I felt like she put a lot of effort into this project,even risking her own health. She really showed me that there is a whole other world ofmicroscopic structures that I ignore on a daily basis. It really reminds me again how much art caninfluence its viewers.Her art led to my research on Diets and Art. I came upon a website that had art pieces thatportrayed artworks made of vegetables and molded into shapes of animals or objects. I found thatentertaining and also intriguing- as some mammals (such as cows and pigs) were composed ofvegetables. I wonder if the artist that constructed those pieces thought about the relationshipbetween meat and vegetables.I also explored Nutrition and Mental Health and found out that certain types of food significantlyaffect your mental health! For example, when people have tea or coffee, they may also socialize
with friends, which may result in positive feelings. Since I am a Psychobiology major, I foundthis very relatable to my major and interest.Lastly, I want to share a photo that captured my eyes. It is a portrayal of honey, and it is veryfocused on the structure and the texture of it. It somehow reminds me of the honey talked aboutby Noa but the honey is also similar to the textures of “Dust Bunny”!References: 1. "A Pathy Place." N.p., 05 May 2011. Web. 30 Apr. 2012. <http://apatchyplace.blogspot.com/2011/08/smooth-silky-and-sweet-thats-my...>.
2. Melville, Barbara. "Nutrition and Mental Health." Psychiatric Disorders. N.p., 8 June 2008. Web. 30 Apr. 2012. <http://suite101.com/article/nutrition-and-mental-health- a56326>.3. Saleem, M. "Incredible Artworks Made From Food." Web Urbanist. N.p., 23 June 2011. Web. 30 Apr. 2012. <http://weburbanist.com/2009/01/08/food-art-and-food-artists/>.4. "Vegan Diet." US News Health. N.p., n. d. Web. 30 Apr. 2012. <http://health.usnews.com/best-diet/vegan-diet>.5. "Vegetarian Diet." Mayo Clinic. N.p., n. d. Web. 30 Apr. 2012. <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vegetarian-diet/HQ01596>.
Kathy Brew on Aging Extra Credit:I thought Kathy Brew’s art was very close to heart and quite understandable. She had one centraltheme, and that is to explore her own aging process and the public’s conception of aging. Shewanted bring out a message that motivates people to accept, appreciate, and embrace the beautyof the aging process. One particular part of her exhibition that left an impression on me is thewall full of degrading adjectives for old people. The wall had words such as “old fogey”, “biddy”,and “hag” and they represent the malicious ways that society views old people. I also liked thesilver haired wig in the center of the exhibition. It was something in the exhibition for viewers toparticipate in and for a moment, be in the shoes of an old person. Overall, I felt this exhibitionwas very informative and educational. Ageism is alive and well in our country. I believe that instead of anti-aging, we should promotepro-aging. After all, aging is a natural process and should be embraced just like youth andmaturity. There are campaigns already targeting pro-aging, such as Dove. They encouragewomen to embrace their skin and appearance no matter how old they are.
Dove came out with a body lotion specifically for older women and it’s called “Dove Pro-Age”.By having a major brand come out with this type of lotion, I think it is a step towards acceptingand embracing aging.References: 1. "Dove pro age body lotion review." Makeup Diaries. N.p., 25 Mar 2012. Web. 12 May. 2012. <http://sexnmakeupdiaries.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/dove-pro-age-body-lotion- review/>. 2. Forgaard, Kim. "The New View on Beauty." Kim Forgaards Take. N.p., 31 Mar 2011. Web. 12 May. 2012. <http://blogs.ubc.ca/kforgaard/>. 3. Jasheway, Leigh Anne. "I’m Pro-Aging." National Association of Baby Bommer Women. N.p., n. d. Web. 12 May. 2012. <http://nabbw.com/expert-columns/arts-and- entertainment/boomer-humor/im-pro-aging/>. 4. "Pro-Aging." Changing Aging. N.p., n. d. Web. 12 May. 2012. <http://changingaging.org/blog/tag/pro-aging/>. 5. "Pro Aging Network." Web. 12 May. 2012. <http://www.retirement-living.com/proaging- network/>. 6. UCLA California NanoSystems Institude. <http://artsci.ucla.edu/?q=events/genetics- aging-symposium-going-gray-kat...>.
Alan Turing and Fibonacci Numbers:Our group will study Alan Turings Fibonacci Numbers and I will specifically focus on NaturalOccurrence of Fibonacci Numbers in pine cones and plant leafs. Pine cones display theFibonacci Spirals clearly. The best way to examine these patterns is to observe pine cones formthe base where the stalk connects it to the tree. For instance, one set of spirals go in one uniformdirection whereas another set of spirals go in the opposite direction (see images below). In onedirection, we count 8 whirls whereas in the other direction, we count 13 whirls. Both 8 and 13areIn another pine cone, there is also evidence of Fibonacci spirals as the patterns on the pine conearrange in two different directions of spirals.In addition, many plants show the Fibonacci numbers in the arrangements of the leaves aroundtheir stems. When we look down on a plant, we notice that the leaves are arranged such that theleaves higher up on the stem do not hide leaves below. This ensures that no matter where leavesare located on a stem, they are able to receive sunlight. Fibonacci numbers are evident in twoways in terms of leaves per turn. First, it occurs when we count the number of times we goaround the stem. Secondly, it occurs when we count leaves until we encounter a leaf directly
above the leaf we started with. If we count in the other direction, we get a different number ofturns with same number of leaves. The number of turns in each direction and the number ofleaves met are three consecutive Fibonacci numbers. In the example below, we have to rotate 3turns clockwise to meet a leaf that is directly above the first leaf we counted. On the way, wepass by 5 leaves. If now we count anti-clockwise, we only turn 2 times. Indeed, 2, 3, and 5 areconsecutive Fibonacci numbers.References: 1. "Evolution." How Stuff Works. N.p., n. d. Web. 20 May. 2012. <http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/life/evolution>. 2. "Fibonacci Numbers and Nature." Rabbits, Cows and Bees Family Trees . N.p., n. d. Web. 20 May. 2012. <http://www.maths.surrey.ac.uk/hosted- sites/R.Knott/Fibonacci/fibnat.html>. 3. "Fibonacci Numbers and the Golden Section." N.p., n. d. Web. 20 May. 2012. <http://britton.disted.camosun.bc.ca/fibslide/jbfibslide.htm>. 4. "Fibonacci numbers and Golden ratio." Natural occurrence of Fibonacci numbers. N.p., n. d. Web. 20 May. 2012. <http://gwydir.demon.co.uk/jo/numbers/interest/golden.htm>. 5. Parveen, Nikhat. "Fibonacci in Nature." N.p., n. d. Web. 20 May. 2012. <http://jwilson.coe.uga.edu/emat6680/parveen/fib_nature.htm>.
Extra Credit: Biotech to Biopunk:Last Thursday, Lejla Kucukalic delivered this speech to highlight the great impacts ScienceFiction and literature have on science. She presented a variety of different types of sciencefiction literature and movies and explained how they influenced and perhaps motivated scientistsof their times. Kucukalic also suggested that science fiction books and movies often are a stepahead of the science at the time and predict what is about to come in the field of science.Through the lecture, she also summarized genetic types of scientists. They include human beingnarratives, GMO narratives, monster narratives and biopunk. The scientists portrayed on novelstend to be either insane and out of their minds or tormented by internal struggles. In fact,scientists portrayed in novels and movies rarely seemed to have a “normal” personality,especially evident in earlier works. For instance, a science fiction that she mentioned wasFrankenstein (1818) by Mary Shelley. Biopunk ultimately is a combination of science fiction,urban-industry, gothic fiction, and extreme violence. It is a movement towards public access togenetic information.
References: 1. Boris Karloff-Annex. House of Frankenstein. N.d. Photograph. n.p. Web. 24 May 2012. <http://www.doctormacro.com/movie star pages/Karloff, Boris-Annex.htm>. 2. Splice. N.d. Photograph. IMDbWeb. 24 May 2012. <www.imdb.com/title/tt1017460/>. 3. Tarantula. N.d. Photograph. n.p. Web. 24 May 2012. <www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDReviews21/tarantula_dvd_review.htm>. 4. The Deadly Mantis. N.d. Photograph. n.p. Web. 24 May 2012. <www.imdb.com/title/tt0050294/>. 5. UCLA CNSI. Biotech to Biopunk: Science Fiction’s Visions of Genetics. <http://www.artsci.ucla.edu/?q=events/lejla-kucukalic-biotech-biopunk-sci>.
Conclusion: I came into this class with a Psychobiology science background and an interest in art. Ididn’t know what to expect but ended this class understanding the magnificent connections thatone can draw from art and science. We explored topics such as genetic engineering, animals inresources, medical technologies, aging, and food and discussed them in artistic perspectives. Ivisited exhibitions by Noa Kaplan, Kathy Brew, and Paul Thomas and participated in many talksin UCLA CNSI throughout the quarter. I learned more about the overlaps in biotechnology andart from Professor Vesna and various guest speakers and interacted with classmates on a weeklybasis. We were asked to take the knowledge we learnt one step further and create an original ideaand project for our midterm. I came up with the idea of the Bioluminescence Experience, aglowing enchanting garden. At the end of the class, classmates and I pooled our knowledge onAlan Turing and dwelled deeper into his concept of Fibonacci numbers and the naturaloccurrence of Fibonacci numbers in pine cones and plant leafs. I am grateful to come out of thisclass enlightened with different perspectives on the sciences and new ideas on the connectionsbetween science and art.