NRL Logo      
Science as Art

Main  |   Projects  |   Dynamic News  |   Related Activities  |   Publications  |   Jobs  |   Contact Us

State of Seawater

During the 1970's in New York City, a community of artists began an art form on the fringes of society. Not represented by the main stream art establishment, these artists painted "Graffiti", without permission, on the sides of subway cars. Many of these artworks are no more readable to the average person than scientific equations, but Graffiti designs are fun and interesting! Today, the fantastic graffiti lettering styles are well known and eye catching. This piece takes an equation, that is Greek to most people, and transforms it into an exciting and fanciful artwork anyone can enjoy.

These symbols are the equation-of-state for seawater



that governs the basic properties of the ocean and is fundamental for ocean circulation dynamics. The equation represents seawater density, ρ, where ρ0 is the reference density, α is the thermal expansion coefficient, β is the saline contraction coefficient, ΔΤ is the change in temperature from the reference state, and ΔS is the change in salinity from the reference state.

It would be great to see more scientific equations written like this in bright extravagant symbols because non-scientists could then experience visually what scientists feel when they themselves view equations. The way equations are displayed should convey the splendor of their meaning.