Inspiring teenagers is a challenging goal, and combining this with educating them about science requires a highly focused strategy. This project will use teenagers’ favourite means of communication, the internet, and language that they can relate to on a personal level, art, to achieve these goals.
Art is a universal language – children of all nations learn to understand and communicate ideas in pictures long before they learn to read and write in their native language. And all children are artists - asking questions, developing ideas, solving problems. These child-like skills are the same ones that make great scientists and maintain the creativity for significant scientific discoveries.
This virtual world is simple in concept – an art gallery / museum, where the different floors of the building will focus on different aspects of art and science. The lower floor offers a room using art to investigate science on a simple level by looking at Art in Nature. There is also a gallery of Famous Artists, whose works are examined from a scientific perspective, and a Members’ Gallery to become part of the Molecular Frontiers community.
By ascending to a higher floor, Modern Art exhibition rooms with themes based on more educationally demanding scientific concepts can be visited, such as Structure and Function, Diversity, Change, or Space and Time. Work based on modern artists is also displayed. Each exhibit links to videos, news and questions in MoleClues.
All the art work exhibited in the museum is by teenagers, or aspiring young artists who contribute interviews. This has the advantage that teenagers can contribute photos of their own art work, which will increase their loyalty to the project and encourage greater participation from non-scientists in Molecular Frontiers activities. All teenage artists’ contributions are credited with their Member’s user name and also their age and country. A vibrant collection of work has already been gathered.
This project offers a virtual common ground to start discussions and activities between non-scientists and scientists, culturing an appreciation for curiosity and asking questions, and encouraging creativity which is essential in all walks of life, whilst raising the awareness of the importance of science in our everyday lives – even in art!