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Art and science

Rio de Janeiro unveils huge science graffiti

08 Jun 2018 Michael Banks
physics-themed urban graffiti at the Brazilian Center for Physical Research in Rio de Janeiro
Wall art: physics-themed urban graffiti at the Brazilian Center for Physical Research in Rio de Janeiro.

The Brazilian Center for Physical Research (CBPF) in Rio de Janeiro has today inaugurated what it calls the largest urban graffiti dedicated to science.

Spanning 240 m2, the graffiti occupies the walls that enclose the institute. It is divided into eight segments that each touch on a specific theme including “the particle that changed Brazil”, “from nano to the macro” and “in search of more”. The “highlight”, according to the CBPF, is “constructors of science”, which features the faces of 100 scientists and is inspired by the famous painting “Operários” in 1933 by the Brazilian modernist painter Tarsila do Amaral.

This work allowed me to see the world differently

Gabi Tores

The graffiti artwork was led by Gabi Tores who is an arts student at the University of the State of Rio de Janeiro. The mural took 600 hours to complete using 110 litres of paint and 324 spray cans. “I fell in love with the project when I realized that this interaction with the public would be unique and we were bringing an innovative concept to this type of urban art,” says Tores. “This work allowed me to see the world differently. In particular, I realize the value of science and how it is so close to us, but sometimes we do not even realize it.”

Hidden puzzles

The CBPF carries out research into a range of topics from nanotechnology to high-energy physics, is one of the top physics institutes in the country. It also serves as the main hub for the academic Internet infrastructure on which a variety of other scientific institutions rely, such as the Brazilian National Cancer Institute. During the 2016 Olympic Games in the city, the institute’s facilities were even used as the headquarters for the event’s digital security.

The graffiti also apparently holds various hidden puzzles that are associated with science and technology, the answers to which you can submit on the project’s website. Those that solve what the CBPF dub the “hardest” puzzles will even receive a prize, which may include a visit to the CBPF, or – if the budget allows – a trip to the CERN particle-physics lab near Geneva.

See more images of the artwork below.

Wall art
Wall art
Grafite da Ciência-Vista parcial da entrada lateral do CBPF com elementos do mural-Crédito NCS-CBPF
Grafite da Ciência-Vista parcial das áreas Abstracao e Misterio-crédito NCS-CBPF
wall art

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