The Leading Strand project offered an interesting opportunity to mix my history with science and my design expertise to create an immersive experience alongside team members Julia Paret, Trevor Berreth, and adviser Victoria Chi. In this collaboration between the NC State University College of Design and College of Sciences, we were one of many teams tasked with making advanced scientific theories more accessible and understood by the public through design. Our focus on ultra-fast quantum matter led to the design of a three stage process incorporating digital and physical projection with typography and light to slow down the insanely fast speeds at which these quantum reactions occur.
Using three physical animation flip-books, guests could see frame by frame interactions that are much to fast for the natural eye to see. The first book started by breaking down the flap of a hummingbird to milliseconds as something almost perceivable. The second book advances to picoseconds as the user experiences the spontaneous combustion of a mantis shrimp's sonic punch that generates light from intense sound and pressure. The final book steps this up to our max speed of femtoseconds, so fast that it deals with the generation of light on an atomic scale. Guests can compare the speeds that they generate with closer but more abstracted examples manifesting on the hanging panels and animated wall behind the exhibit.