12 | SNIAM: Beer, bubbles, buildings . . . and physics
This stainless steel sculpture was inspired by a discovery made in the 1990s by two physicists working at TCD.Prof Denis Weaire and Dr Robert Phelan found a new way to pack regular shapes, that was more efficient than any previous approach, and had a smaller surface area.
The work relates to foams and packaging, and has important industrial implications – and it has also inspired artists and architects, notably the blue water cube for the Beijing Olympic swimming pool, which exploits the Weaire-Phelan bubble solution.
'Throwing Shapes' was designed by a physicist and artist, Dr Wiebke Drenckhan, and made in the TCD physics workshops by David Grouse.
At the physics department today, scientists continue to study foams and bubbles, as well as nanotechnology, astrophysics and the weather conditions on the Sun, and they have even invented valuable new types of magnet.