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The Fine Art of Engineering

The Fine Art of Engineering
by Nazita Saye on 01-28-2016 at 12:00 pm

There’s a small art gallery near the office. It features a new set of paintings by a local artist every two weeks. As I walk by I tend to check out what’s hanging in there. Sometimes I turn up my nose at what I see – a bit too wacky, a bit too abstract, a bit too paint by numbers. Sometimes I walk in to take a closer look but leave the shop empty-handed due to “budgetary restrictions”. But sometimes I walk out with a nice shiny piece of art. You see a while back I decided I was all grown up so I was no longer going to buy mass produced stuff. Three years on I have a handful of pieces by local artists from the gallery gracing the walls of my house.

Art is a funny thing. Something that is aesthetically pleasing to me may not be to you. So let’s go back to the basics. What is art? A quick online search gives me this: art is an expression of creative skill or imagination. Sometimes in a visual form. Something that evokes a feeling.

Given this definition almost anything can be considered art. For example, sometimes I look at a CFD plot and find it so aesthetically pleasing that I think hey you can hang that on a wall in your house. Some folks may turn up their nose at this but if you forget about the science behind it (ie heat flowing thru a piece of electronics) then who is to say it isn’t art. We could even say CFD stands for Color For Decorating 😀

Here’s a favorite image of mine created for a magazine cover by Robin Bornoff a few years ago –

I even nominated it when our facilities team was looking for artwork to use for a lighting fixture in the office. Two years on and I still think it’s one of the coolest things ever (although if I were to do this I would have used LEDs to illuminate the streamlines):

And I’m glad that I’m not the only one who feels that simulation plots can be art. The good folks behind the Design Automation Conference (DAC) are organizing a silicon and technology art show at next year’s event. Everyone is encouraged to send in artwork and a select few will have their artwork framed and displayed at the show. There are no fast and hard rules as to what they are looking for … you can submit anything you like as long as it’s EDA, electronics or semiconductor related. Personally I think you can generate some stunning images based on thermal simulation. For more information and submission details please follow this link. Their deadline is March 24, 2016 so there is a bit of time.

I really hope you submit some of your work and I can’t wait to see you get some well-deserved kudos for the work you do. In fact, I’d like to ask you to send a copy of your images to me too at my Mentor address (nazita underscore saye at mentor dot com). I’d love to do an online gallery. Wouldn’t that be the coolest thing? I promise I’ll ask for your permission if I decide to frame one and put it on the wall in my house.

Until next time,

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