Monday, May 15, 2006

Big (Glass and Chrome) Bang

Damn, 3quarksdaily beat me to this one, but I just wanted to show a photo and say a few words about Josiah McElheny's show at the Andrea Rosen Gallery in Chelsea, which I saw on Saturday. My friend Ofer pointed me to an article about this in the NY Times last weekend (now hidden behind the walls of Times Select), but nothing in there prepared me for how amazing this was. "An End To Modernity" is an homage to both the chandeliers at the Met Opera house in Lincoln Center and the introduction of the Big Bang theory, both in 1965. One sees the emanation of "lines" from an occluded "core" (indicating the moment of recombination, when the universe became opaque), and the development of those "lines" into clusters of galaxies of different shapes. Really excellent, and moving in its size, scope, and attention to detail (both of craftsmanship, and scientific).

Of course, I see RHIC collisions everywhere, and this is no exception. I see hadron emission from an "initial state" which we have trouble understanding due to "hadronization" and the decay of those hadrons isotropically in their own rest frame. But maybe I see dead people too? If anyone is interested, I can explain more -- i think the analogy works pretty well (except RHIC collisions are definitely not globally isotropic, as many think the universe is and should be...). There are even points of light -- photons! -- in between the clusters of glass. Nice to have a model to simultaneously compare one's thinking on Big and Little Bangs.


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