Students and teachers can explore the STEM concepts and skills found in the artists work. The STEM Concept tool provides a core idea from the Next Generation Science Standards and illustrates possible ways it has been applied in each artist's work. It also includes artist tips and views on STEM for a personal perspective on their unique STEM + Art connections.

DPrime Research

Next Generation Science Standards

Core Idea LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

LS1.A: Structure and Function
LS1.B: Growth and Development of Organisms
LS1.C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms
LS1.D: Information Processing

Biopoiesis/Biolesce:   This combination of activities by DPrime Research explores the boundary between living and nonliving structures.  By using computation to inject some sort of logic into chemical processes, Biopoiesis shows that a compound that is usually considered inorganic (stannous chloride) can exhibit crystalline growth patterns that mimic the patterns of living organisms, and that a self-regulating process of formation and decay occurs similar to what one sees in living things.  Similarly, Biolesce explores the effects of computational logic on a colony of algae, to show that there is a level of information processing going on in plant life that is comparable to sensation in animals.  These two projects demonstrate t

skills applied

  • Electrochemistry
  • Physical Computing
  • Study of bioluminescent Algae


The Biolesece project pulls on different disciplines (biology, math, computer science to name a few) to understand how bioluminescence in algae works, how to keep the algae healthy, and how to use physical computing to stimulate the algae. By pulling together all of these fields, the project makes for a unique experience between the audience and the algae. It required learning about the building of microcontrollers (both projects), about bioluminescent algae (Biolesce) and about electrochemistry (Biopoiesis). We have spent a great deal of time going through publications about algae and electrochemistry. We have also spent a lot of time online looking at and doing tutorials for physical computing--both hacks and creative approaches to using technology. Hacks of existing technologies and parts have lead to innovative ways of dealing with some of the challenges we faced during the development of both of these projects. These are some approaches that students can try.  Tyler

Artists on STEM
Do you think there is a difference between artistic and scientific creativity?

"Often, scientists are concerned with methods, so that the technique or experiment can be widely replicated and generally accepted. Often, artists are concerned with the unique and ephemeral qualities of the specific art object. Yet these are generalities, and not always true. Art and science share a great deal, especially creativity. Creativity can always be seen as a guiding principle to what we’re doing. Art and science both involve making physical objects and devices--ones which are geared toward understanding and experience of the world."

What was your experience with STEM in school? What would you change now if you could?

We are taught in the school system, from a very young age, that there is one place/space for science (a textbook, a class, a room, etc.) and another for art. We believe there should be an effort to recombine these approaches to understanding. In addition, we feel that most students are currently only taught about the products of science and art, and not about science and art itself. Both are explorative processes that require hands on encounters and the development of certain types of thinking skills.

Do you think the arts are as important as science?

"Of course! Art can allow for the creation of intense experiences that challenge the viewer either experientially, conceptually, or logically. These experiences offer us the opportunity to re-evaluate our perceptions of the world... For some time now, science has been placing increasing emphasis on the production of information--the products of science. This has come at the expense of riskier forms of exploration and creativity, arguably the true heart of scientific practice...We believe this is a major problem with the sciences at the moment (This is not to say that artists don’t face similar issues).