Sculpture meets science when physicist Albert-László Barabási makes art from network patterns

As a teenager, Albert-László Barabási wanted to be a sculptor. Then he discovered physics and went on to invent a new field of network science.

But the scientist’s interest in art never went away. Rather, it became integral in Barabási’s research uncovering the patterns in the networks that underpin our world. And that medley of art and science that has yielded a new form of art, now on display in an exhibit in Germany, as well as online.

“In art it is very common that you take ideas from science, shapes from science, and concepts from science and put it into the art space,” says Barabási, Robert Gray Dodge professor of network science and a distinguished university professor of physics at Northeastern. “Here it happened inversely. My interest in art and my active engagement with the art community has allowed me to take the forms and the visual representations from the art that I was experiencing and bring it back to scientific visualization.”

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Network Science Program