Art 8
We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but it is somewhat beauty and poetry.
~Maria Mitchell

ART & Architecture

A casual glance at the sculptures decorating Fermilab's grounds might cause some new visitors to think they'd made a wrong turn and were approaching a modern art museum instead of a laboratory. All of these works, however, do have some type of mathematical or scientific principle behind them. Most of the art on the lab's grounds is the work of former director Robert R. Wilson. Wilson was not only a physicist, but also an artist. He wanted Fermilab to be an attractive cultural center in addition to being a research institute.

Wilson's Broken Symmetry (lower right) powerfully conveys the message implied by its title as it straddles Fermilab's Pine Street entrance. This three-span arch, appears symmetric only when viewed from directly below. When viewed from any other angle, however, the sculpture is seen to be asymmetrical.

Tractricious (right and lower left from below), is another of Wilson's tall sculptures. It consists of 32 pieces of tubing that were supposed to be thrown out. Dr. Wilson did not want these rejects to be uselessly discarded, so he turned them into this beautiful sculpture. This structure is so stable that it can withstand winds up to 80 mph.

Similar in shape to Tractricious, Wilson's Acqua Alle Funi (left and below with Wilson Hall) stands 32 feet high in the reflecting pond in front of Wilson Hall. The structure was constructed out of three stainless steel plates, each one quarter inch thick.

Fermilab is also the home of the Möbius Strip, a fascinating metal work mounted in the midst of a circular pool atop Ramsey Auditorium. In addition, many Fermilab buildings have unique architecture that was either designed by or inspired by Dr. Wilson. The most striking examples of these are the Neutrino Laboratory and Wilson Hall. Clearly, Fermilab plans to make its move into the future in Renaissance style.