From science to art – an easy transition

Magnified cotton wool

Cotton wool falsely coloured in this scanning electron microscope image.

Magnified gold flake

Gold particles falsely coloured in this scanning electron microscope image

The path between science and art is not well-trodden but for one RMIT student the journey was simple.

Daniel Oldfield, a final year PhD candidate in Applied Physics, has drawn on his expertise as a microscopist to create unique pieces of art.

His work features microscopic objects such as gold particles, coral reef, marine animal shells and pollen among others enlarged to a size which portrays interesting shapes, textures and patterns.

Oldfield says he enjoys being at the forefront of what is technologically possible, both through his studies and art.

“Typically, the images I post online are taken with a scanning electron microscope,” he said.

“But in future, I intend to upload images taken by other equipment such as a transmission electron microscope, and an atomic force microscope.”

A scanning electron microscope, which is more powerful than an optical microscope, scans a focused electron beam over a surface to create the images.

Oldfield has been working as a microscopist in RMIT’s Microscopy and Microanalysis Facility for the past three years.

But it was only after joining the Australian Science Communicators in 2015 that he decided to develop a portfolio of his work online.

Oldfield’s work is being exhibited as part of the New Academic Street project’s staff and student engagement plan at RMIT’s City campus in the level 4 corridor between Buildings 10 and 12.

The New Academic Street project is transforming the heart of the City campus.

Construction works will continue throughout Buildings 10, 12 and 14 until July 2017, creating a new Library, Media Precinct, collaborative learning spaces and retail precinct while also revitalising Bowen Street.