ONLINE Light + chemistry = art with OPTIMA Fun Palace

Online

Cyanotype printing (also known as blue printing) is one of the oldest forms of photography. Researchers from the EPSRC/MRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Optical Medical Imaging (OPTIMA), shared between Edinburgh and Strathclyde Universities, use light and chemistry to diagnose and detect disease. However, this weekend we’d like to invite folks to create their own images combining blueprint paper, sunlight, and found objects around the house and garden. We can’t wait to see what you make!

Primary Contact

Kirsty Ross, Outreach Officer

Date and Time

Thursday 30th September 2021 09:00-17:00
Friday 1st October 2021 09:00-17:00
Saturday 2nd October 2021 09:00-17:00

Location

This Fun Palace is taking place online

David Brewster Road,
Edinburgh,
Edinburgh,
Scotland,
United Kingdom,
EH9 3FJ

Please note: this event is ONLINE only. Please DO NOT go to the Joseph Black Building; we won’t be there!!!

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Description

The OPTIMA researchers are based at the University of Strathclyde and the University of Edinburgh. All students have projects that span the full spectrum of science. We have engineers, biologists, chemists, vets and even a physiotherapist. All are applying hard sciences to solve clinical problems in light-based medical imaging. 

You can see some of their profiles here on our website. Do any of them look like you? They are living proof that, just because you study one subject, doesn’t mean you can’t do something different in the future. So don’t panic!

We have a really cool activity that we’d like to share with you. It’s called cyanotype printing, also known as blueprinting. To make images, two chemicals are mixed and painted onto paper or cloth. If the mix is then exposed to the sun, the chemicals react to give a dark blue colour that sticks to the paper/cloth. 

There is a trick though! If light can’t get to the mix, then the blue colour won’t form. You can then wash it away in a high tech bucket of tap water (wear gloves!) leaving just the white paper behind. It is similar to how our researchers use chemical probes to ID diseased tissue, whilst leaving normal tissue alone.

We have free cyanotype kits that we would like you to experiment with but first we have a question for you:

If time and money was no object, what would you want to learn about?

We’d like you to use our kits to try and answer our question using objects from home or out and about.

[UPDATE] Deadline to request resources has passed, but we’d be more than happy to send materials out for other occasions (European Researchers’ Night, British Science Week etc). If you or your group like to receive materials to experiment with then please fill in our request for resources form. This is especially suitable if you are are shielding.  This will be on a first come, first served basis and we cannot guarantee our ability to meet all requests. Please request materials by 5pm on Monday 28th September at the latest, so that we have time to get them to you!

You can also share your makes via our Instagram, Twitter or Facebook pages. 

Show us your makes over the weekend via the Twitter hashtag #OPTIMAFunPalace

Check back regularly for updates in the run up to the Fun Palace weekend!

Timetable

Thursday 30th September 2021

09:00

Welcome to the OPTIMA Fun Palace!

Hopefully your requested resources have arrived and you are ready to get started. This works best on a sunny, calm day. Find materials you would like to try and get them ready. Lay out your materials on the paper inside before taking them into the sunshine. Once the paper turns denim grey you can remove the materials, dunk it in your bucket of science (wear rubber gloves) and your print should be dark blue with white shadows. Allow to dry and enjoy 🙂

Friday 1st October 2021

09:00

Hopefully your requested resources have arrived and you are ready to get started. This works best on a sunny, calm day. Find materials you would like to try and get them ready. Lay out your materials on the paper inside before taking them into the sunshine. Once the paper turns denim grey you can remove the materials, dunk it in your bucket of science (wear rubber gloves) and your print should be dark blue with white shadows. Allow to dry and enjoy 🙂

Saturday 2nd October 2021

17:00

And that is the end of our Fun Palace!

Thank you for taking part! Please share your makes on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #OPTIMAFunPalace; we cannot wait to see what you have created.

Updates

Check out the video to see how to create a print and watch me geek out at one of my experiments working! Hint – 'borrow' some lace doilies or net curtain for this; you won't be disappointed 😉
Posted 1/10/2020 by Kirsty Ross

And that's the resources packed up and away! 11 individuals and groups will be blue printing the weekend away. Fingers crossed for sunshine!
Posted 1/10/2020 by Kirsty Ross