Mystery Image #36

Posted by T. A. Gobert on November 17, 2014 in

During Rensselaer’s recent Family Weekend, the Institute Archives held a “show & tell” for campus visitors.  We displayed an assortment of items documenting the student experience at Rensselaer, focusing on the changing campus landscape, housing over the years, Grand Marshall history and activities, and RPI hockey.

We didn’t know what to expect, but Jen and I were pleased when several families (and a few students) dropped by throughout the day.  Some came to see what we have, others had questions for us.  Since we’re in the business of helping people find answers to their pressing historical queries, that was a welcome aspect of our day.

One family, however, caught us off-guard when they asked about something they had observed near the Darrin Communication Center.  They brought in a photo of an object they thought might be either a piece of modern sculpture or construction debris, and wondered if the archives could shed light on the mystery.  Now that’s a question!

I’ve looked through photos and contacted other people on campus to try to identify this object, all to no avail.  I’m hoping some observant reader will recognize the item pictured below and shed light on our latest mystery image… or should I say – mystery object?

Can you identify the concrete object near the center of this photo?
Can you identify the concrete object near the center of this photo?


Tue, 11/18/2014 - 09:44 Permalink

It's a piece of art representing wave-particle duality. The flat, wavy surface is a visual representayion of a wave function while the two rings are electron orbitals. That would make it a model of a neutral helium atom.

K. Nasadowski
Tue, 11/18/2014 - 08:35 Permalink

Don't know if this helps, but didn't one of the Arts courses a few years ago (5 - 10) do sculpture? I seem to recall seeing more than this one piece, there were a few others around campus including up on the Hassan Quad area.

In reply to by egglel

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 11:26 Permalink

That sounds plausible. Do you know who created the piece, and when?

In reply to by egglel

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 12:38 Permalink

I do not, however, it is artwork depicting the same sort of physics as can be found on the wall in the ground floor lobby of the JROWL building, so it may be from the same time period--that is the lobby closest to this concrete sculpture. I believe there are names and dates on the works in the JROWL, which may be a lead to the time period and people involved.

In reply to by egglel

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 12:47 Permalink

Thanks, Sean - I'll have to check that out!

In reply to by egglel

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 11:24 Permalink

Good question. Maybe someone in the Arts Department will have information. Thanks!

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