Monthly Archives: January 2014

Finding a Passion Through Artwork (Revised)

Finding a Passion Through Artwork

It was Saturday, December 8th, 2012 and I was with my two best friends Shaun and Tyler attending a concert at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver, Colorado. I initially had no desire or intention of going to this show, but they assured me that I would never forget that night because before the show started we would have the pleasure of listening to a presentation from a world famous spiritual/psychedelic artist named Alex Grey. I had no idea who Mr. Grey was or even what his artwork was about. We stood as close as we could to the rail in hopes of catching a good view of the screen. Upon entering the stage, I noted that Mr. Grey had long flowing silver-white hair, spoke with a soft voice that seemed unnaturally peaceful and wore a jacket decorated with bright colors and patterns. This man’s unique appearance was enough to get my attention and intrigue me about what he was saying. Throughout Mr. Grey’s presentation I learned that he worked at Harvard Medical School studying anatomy and preparing cadavers for dissection. This incredible experience of working first hand with the deceased inspired him to follow his passion of artwork and human anatomy to create beautiful, magnificent pieces of art that highlight the human body and spirit. What separates Mr. Grey’s artwork from other spiritual/psychedelic artists are the anatomically perfect human bodies that are the focus of his pieces. Mr. Grey’s artwork seems to “x-ray” the subjects, allowing a look into their anatomy. He includes the skin, muscles, vital organs, blood vessels, nerves and bones of each body in the painting displaying how intricate humans are.

As a reader you may be asking yourself, “How does this experience relate to your life, Chase?” Well, even as a small child I had a strong interest in how our bodies functioned and what made us tick. Advancing through school my favorite subject was always biology because it offered explanations for the questions about our bodies that I longed to understand. During the Fall 2012 semester of school, which coincidentally was the same semester that I was introduced to Alex Grey, I officially declared my major as Integrative Physiology at CU Boulder. Within the Integrative Physiology major, students have the opportunity to study human anatomy by working with actual cadavers, similar to what Alex Grey experienced, in a course called “Intro to Human Anatomy Lab.” Throughout the lab I found myself constantly examining Mr. Grey’s artwork looking for specific blood vessels, nerves and bones that I had learned about, and found them present exactly where they should be on the human body. Finishing Anatomy Lab caused me to appreciate Mr. Grey’s artwork even more, because the body is exceptionally complex and he manages to capture the beauty of it all. I am now a second semester junior at CU Boulder and absolutely love what I study. Without a doubt, working with the human body is what I want to do as a profession and a lot of credit goes to Alex Grey and his magnificent artwork that sparked a passion that will last a lifetime.

Alex_Grey-Reading

Alex Grey- Reading, 2001, Oil on Linen

-Chase Stanker

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Diversity of Science- Revised

When I was seven years old, my mother took me flying for the first time in a Cessna 172. I remember sitting on her lap, taking complete control of the airplane, and experiencing the utter amazement of flying. From that point on, I became an obsessively curious second grader, who wanted to know everything about the world around me. I drove my parents and teachers into insanity with questions such as; “How does water turn to steam?”, “Why don’t old people have teeth?” and my favorite “If you could hold lightening in you hand, how much would it weigh?”. As time went on and the list of questions grew, however, I began to notice a trend: every question I asked was tied back to an understanding of science and because of this the realm of science and opportunities within this realm were endless.

Ken Jenkins once said, “I think science has enjoyed an extraordinary success because it has such a limited and narrow realm in which to focus its efforts. Namely, the physical universe”.  Through a hint of sarcasm, Jenkins clearly addresses the fact that the study of science has no boundaries. Science can begin with studying something as small as an atom, to something as large and far away as a star in the sky. Careers in the subject alone compile an endless list that includes: astronauts, geologist, meteorologist, engineers, physics, chemists, mechanics, oceanographer and more. There are countless fields of science that when put together work to create an explanation for the entire universe, in which we live in.

Though flying with my mother did not lead me to become a pilot, this experience sparked a strong passion for me to explore other topics of science. While I soon learned that I despised chemistry and physics, I quickly realized how drawn I was to other classes such as physiology and anatomy. However, whether it’s calculating the speed of a 300,000 kg 777 aircraft with a breaking force of 445,000 N or determining what cells produce fibers that form the framework of lymphatic organs, the answers are ultimately derived from what Jenkins calls the study of the physical universe. There are no limits to the diversity of knowledge that can be obtained when one chooses to pursue an interest in science.

Unique, you say? (Revision 1)

“Unique.” Humans have been force fed this idea about Earth for the entirety of our lives. If we aren’t unique, then where is the proof of life elsewhere in the universe? It’s obvious, isn’t it? We have never seen “aliens,” so we can safely draw the conclusion that we are alone in this universe. Right?

Wrong.

The size and complexity of the universe makes the thought of us being alone seemingly impossible. Neil deGrasse Tyson, a well-known astrophysicist, explains the reality of the “uniqueness” in the attached video.

“That’s like going to the ocean, taking a cup of water, scooping it up [looking at the cup] and saying ‘There are no whales in the ocean.’ Here’s my data. You need a slightly bigger sample.” I can’t agree with Tyson more. Just because we can’t see life in the small area we have explored (barely beyond the reach of the solar system), doesn’t mean we can jump to the conclusion that we are alone. That idea of Earth being the only place to support life is a very crazy and conceited thought to me.

After taking astrophysics and astronomy classes, one is humbled to see how huge and vast the universe really is. There are a few hundred billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy, and a few hundred billion galaxies in the OBSERVABLE universe. “Observable” means that these numbers only reflect what we are able to see from Earth. When I learned this, I realized that “unique” is the furthest from the truth when it comes to Earth’s position in the universe. This idea strengthens my passion to continue our space exploration in the days to come.

-Bryan Doyle

Finding a Passion Through Artwork

It was Saturday, December 8th, 2012 and I was with my two best friends Shaun and Tyler attending a concert at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver, Colorado. I initially had no desire or intention of going to this show, but they assured me that I would never forget that night because before the music started playing we would have the pleasure of listening to a presentation from a world famous spiritual/psychedelic artist named Alex Grey. I had no idea who Alex Grey was or even what his artwork was about. We stood as close as we could to the rail in hopes of catching a good view of the screen. Upon entering the stage, I noted that Mr. Grey had long flowing silver white hair, spoke with a soft voice that seemed naturally peaceful and wore a jacket filled with bright colors and patterns. This man’s unique appearance was enough to get my attention and intrigue me about what he was saying.Throughout Alex’s presentation I learned that he worked at Harvard Medical School studying anatomy and preparing the cadavers for dissection. This incredible experience of working first hand with the deceased inspired Alex to follow his passion of artwork and human anatomy to create beautiful, magnificent pieces of art that highlight the human body and spirit.

As a reader you may be asking yourself, “How does this relate to your life, Chase?” Well, it was during the Fall 2012 semester of school that I had officially declared my major as Integrative Physiology at CU Boulder. I had mixed feelings about this decision, knowing that I could be well in over my head with the amount of material I would need to learn and the amount of schooling I would need to succeed in the field. But it was in becoming more and more familiar with Alex’s artwork that I developed a passion for human anatomy and found everything about it fascinating. It just blows my mind thinking that every single part of the human body serves a specific function, and that it performs that function perfectly. I am now a second semester junior and could not even imagine studying anything else but Integrative Physiology, with a big credit to Alex Grey.

 

Alex_Grey-Reading

“Reading” -Alex Grey, 2001

 

“The evidence that all beings are connected is revealed before us every day. The only life on Earth 3.7 billion years ago was blue-green algae. Now our human consciousness contemplates that fact and marvels at the miraculously diverse biological bloom of creation we share with all beings.” -Alex Grey, Net of Being

 

Chase Stanker

Diversity of Science

Starting college, I was certain I would follow in the footsteps of every member in my family and become a pilot. Well two and a half years later I am now over half way through a degree in medicine. Although it may appear to be a complete change in direction, the fact is that it was not. Aviation and medicine are just two out of the hundreds of topics that share a connection through a love for science.

 

In a quote by Ken Jenkins he states, “I think science has enjoyed an extraordinary success because it has such a limited and narrow realm in which to focus its efforts. Namely, the physical universe”.  Though Jenkins conveys a hint of sarcasm in his statement, he also clearly addresses the fact that the study of science has no boundaries. There are countless fields of science that when put together work to create an explanation for the entire universe in which we live in. Whether it is calculating the speed of a 300,000 kg 777 aircraft with a breaking force of 445,000 N or determining what cells produce fibers that form the framework of lymphatic organs, there are no limits to the diversity of knowledge that can be obtained when one chooses to pursue an interest in science.

-Natalie Eidson

Unique, you say?

Unique. Humans have been force fed this idea for the entirety of our lives. If we aren’t unique, then where is the proof of life elsewhere in the universe? It’s obvious. We have never seen aliens, so we can safely draw the conclusion that we are alone and unique in this universe, right?

Wrong.

Well known astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, explains this thought in the attached video. “That’s like going to the ocean, taking a cup of water, scooping it up [looking at the cup] and saying ‘There’s no whales in the ocean.’ Here’s my data. You need a slightly bigger sample.” I can’t agree with Tyson more. The idea of Earth being the only place to support life is a very crazy and conceited thought to me.

I can pinpoint the reason I became so interested in science, astronomy in particular. After taking astrophysics and astronomy classes, one is forced to see at how huge and vast the universe really is. The sheer number of stars in our Milky Way galaxy alone is intimidating, let alone the seemingly infinite amount in the whole of the universe. That’s when I realized that “unique” is the furthest from the truth when it comes to Earth’s position in the universe.

-Bryan Doyle