Art and Self-Assembly: Wei Li’s BiophysJ Cover Art

Wei Li of Lehigh University’s Physics Department, creator of the cover image on the latest issue of Biophysical Journal, describes how he made this image and where he saw artistic opportunity in his scientific research.

1) How did you compose this image?
I composed the image by setting the environment and the event. I first pinned down the key feature of our work, picked out the representative elements, put them in proper sizes through perspective view, and located them in consideration of composition balance.

2) What prompted you to submit your image as cover art?
The reason is straightforward: To get more attention that may promote potential communication and collaboration.

3) How does this image reflect your scientific research?
It covers the main results of self-assembly process from our scientific research. It’s our hope that the reader could be inspired by this image to find more details from the paper.

4) Where do you see the artistry in your image? How did you come to see this?
In my personal, humble opinion, the artistry of image lies in color and composition that provides aesthetic feeling and the space for imagination. I held the faith in composing the image. As a result, it came out with several aggregates (from hierarchical self-assembly) on the “secretive” background, which is concise and may stimulate thinking.

5) How does it feel to have your image chosen as the cover of an issue of Biophysical Journal? What is the significance of this for you?
I’m quite proud that my image has been chosen as a cover. It’s definitely significant to me as the recognition of my effort and work. It will encourage me to keep pursuing in the following research.

6) Do you consider yourself an artist as well as a scientist? Any ideas or aspirations for your next science-as-art submission?
Yes. Artist and scientist have a lot of things in common. They are all about inspiration, communication, and education. My wish is to convey the beautiful ideas with concise words and delicate images. Our work at hand is still kept in this way, intuitional and instructive.

7) Do you have a website where our readers can view your recent research?
http://www.lehigh.edu/~wel208/

I’ll update the information in a timely manner. It’s my sincere hope to initiate the communication and collaboration through this platform.

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