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Science faculty awarded L.L. Stewart Faculty Fellowships to bridge science and art

By College of Science

Patricia Valian Reser Center for the Creative Arts building.

Two College of Science professors have been awarded the 2024 L.L. Stewart Faculty Fellowship. This award is given to Oregon State science or engineering faculty who pose and explore questions alongside at least one artist. It provides up to $15,000 per year for one to two years and includes a partnership with the Patricia Valian Reser Center for the Creative Arts to showcase the team’s project.

Professor Jeffrey Hazboun from the Department of Physics is one of the Team Science recipients. His work as a gravitational astrophysicist looks to the stars to answer black hole mysteries. Using pulsars, a type of rotating star that sends out regular pulses of radio waves like a lighthouse, he finds tiny distortions in spacetime created by gravitational waves. These then tell him about the supermassive binary black holes scattered in the universe.

“I’m excited about the prospect of cooperatively processing our understanding of the signals transmitted to us from the wider universe across the modalities of science and art,” Hazboun said.

He’ll be working with Brian House, an artist and composer whose work focuses on the hidden songs of systems. “On my end, the process of learning to communicate with an artist, like Brian, about how my science and his art are synergistic will be the most fulfilling aspect of our collaboration,” he said.

The second Team Science member receiving the fellowship is Professor Dee Denver, an integrative biology instructor. Denver studies a range of living systems from microscopic worms to sacred trees. His work melds Buddhist philosophy with ecological and genetic perspectives to examine human-nature relationships. He has traveled the world learning from Buddhist communities and spent years investigating biology through this lens.

“Buddhism brings fundamentally new ways of thinking about human-nature relationships, and ways of engaging and being with biodiversity,” he said.

Jovencio de la Paz, a designer who bridges ancient weaving techniques with the contemporary weaving of coding, will be his collaborator. Together, they will create an artistic project that responds to the research questions Denver poses.

“I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to partner with an artist who can bring new ideas and approaches to communicating, visualizing or expressing in other ways the beauty, insight and wisdom that arises with our research at the biodiversity-Buddhism interface,” Denver said.

Read about the other fellowship awardees here.