Tripping the light fantastic

UWA physics professor David Blair with his laser contraption.       Picture: Matt Jelonek         d441270
UWA physics professor David Blair with his laser contraption.       Picture: Matt Jelonek        d441270

Clocks, aquariums, windscreen wiper motors and teapots � all combed from local op-shops � are used to make the machines that distort light and explain science using art.

While his lounge room light show may seem appropriate for a rave, they will actually be used as a teaching aid at this month�s Gingin Science Festival.

�It was 40 years after Einstein�s prediction about lasers that scientists actually made them,� Prof Blair said.

The festival is also a tribute to Einstein, celebrating the centenary of his General Theory of Relativity and the International Year of Light.

The painstakingly-made light machines will be on display at the Gravity Discovery Centre.

�It doesn�t take me long to come up with ideas but it takes a long time to make something that is robust,� Prof Blair said.

He hoped his creations would inspire people in the same way he was as a child.

�When I was a kid, the space race had just started and I was completely fascinated when the first Sputnik went up,� he said.

�We lived on a farm in Albany and I said to my dad �I don�t want to be a farmer, I want to be a scientist�.�

His career as a gravity expert led to him being named WA Scientist of the Year in 2007.

Prof Blair�s art installation, titled Coherence to Chaos, will debut at the Gingin Science Festival from August 14 until September 19. Visit

www.ginginsciencefestival.com.au.