All Possible Photons: The Feynman Diagrams of Edward Tufte
It is little wonder that Edward Tufte has a lingering fascination with Feynman: both men bring to their work an instinctive understanding of the connection between sight, thought, and perception. Tufte, whom the New York Times described as “the da Vinci of data” for his elegant, polymathic approach to data visualization, has since become fascinated by the extra dimensionality that sculpture affords. In his latest exhibit, Tufte’s stainless steel sculptures pay tribute to Richard Feynman, whose eponymous diagrams revolutionized theoretical physics. As described in the show’s catalogue:
“Feynman diagrams depict the space-time patterns of particles and waves of quantum electrodynamics. These mathematically derived and empirically verified visualizations represent the space-time paths taken by all subatomic particles in the universe.
The resulting conceptual and cognitive art is both beautiful and true… Gathered together, as in the 120 diagrams showing all possible space-time paths of 6-photon scattering, the stainless steel lines (and their variable shadow, airspace, light, color, form) reveal the endless complexities that result from multiplying and varying fundamental elements.”
You can see more of Tufte’s work here; a (relatively) simple explanation of Feynman diagrams can be found here.
- Alex Tesar