Art and science in two amazing East Village murals!

Two amazing murals by well known regional artists can be found in a new public plaza located in San Diego’s East Village neighborhood.

The murals, designed by artists Rafael Lopez of San Diego and Joel Sotelo of Tijuana, decorate opposing walls in the amphitheater-like space between the UCSD Downtown Center building and the 34-story The Merian apartment tower. Walk north up the sidewalk from the corner of Market Street and Park Boulevard and you’ll find it.

This welcoming new plaza is so remarkable that it earned a San Diego Architectural Foundation Orchid Award!

For many months I’ve been waiting for a construction site fence to come down, and it finally did, allowing entrance to the new plaza.

If you’d like to read more about this unique public plaza’s inspiration, design and construction, here’s a great article.

My first photos are of the Rafael Lopez mural, which was painted by Gran Prestoz. It was completed a couple of summers ago, but not accessible to the public.

Lopez is widely known for his award-winning illustrations in numerous acclaimed children’s books. He has even designed several United States postage stamps!

The next photos are of the mural on the plaza’s east side, by artist Joel Sotelo. The mural’s title is Pulsar Ultra-Marino. According to a plaque I found, “Sotelo’s colorful mural is based on the idea of wonder, from the micro to the macro, from the beauty of nature to the revelations of science.”

(Doing a little research, I was surprised to find out that Joel Sotelo helped conceive of the Tweet Street linear city park with its artistic birdhouses. Tweet Street on Cortez Hill is only a few steps from where I live!)

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Shark research vessel in San Diego.

Look at those two big shark cages! I spotted them during my early morning walk along San Diego’s Embarcadero.

The Sharkwater marine research vessel of the organization Fins Attached is now docked in San Diego!

I didn’t see any crewmembers on deck, and when I looked at their social media this evening, I couldn’t tell whether they’re in San Diego for a particular reason. I did see on their website that a special online fundraising event is coming up.

The mission of Fins Attached is primarily the study of sharks and their preservation. If you’d like to help this cause, visit their website to learn more!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Mathematical nonsense and truth at the Bonita Museum.

If you are intrigued by human creativity, science or philosophy, you might enjoy the artwork now on display at the The Bonita Museum and Cultural Center. The title of the exhibition is Rule 42, Stretched Language.

Why Rule 42? According to one popular work of fiction, 42 is the answer to the ultimate question of Life, the Universe and Everything. Go ahead, smile!

Why Stretched Language? Perhaps because human language can be stretched in endless ways. Words assembled in infinite combinations can represent one’s personal experience or shine light into dark places. Be made into poetry.

Words are symbolic. Numbers, variables and equations are also symbolic. They, too, can be used in poetic expression. Indeed, the exhibition’s subtitle is “Explorations into visual, concrete and mathematical poetry.”

Supposedly, the works in this exhibition each have something to do with mathematics. It seemed to me, however, that they all celebrate something larger: the unique capacity of diverse human minds to imagine, rationalize and create. And even embrace pure nonsense.

Psychronometrics. Sounds scientific. Sounds profound. The equation and description are impressive. But the assertion is that our psychological experience of time, and how time seems to accelerate as we become older, is related to Einstein’s theory of relativity.

To compare the two is utterly absurd. That equation in the photograph above includes velocity. Neither the young or the old have managed (yet) to approach the speed of light!

But you know what? The plasticity of the human mind, which can imagine and rationalize absolutely anything and everything, is what is on display. These are the metaphorical works of visionary artists, not “serious” scientists. Infinite artistic truths cannot be defined with a few equations.

More rational visitors to the exhibit might laugh at some of the jumbled assertions and associations. Rule 42, Stretched Language can be a stretch.

My advise? Don’t be too critical. Step outside your own idea of Truth and enjoy!

This rather unusual exhibition ends on December 3, 2021.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Local students engineer amazing robots!

Possibly my favorite part of today’s Grand Avenue Festival in Escondido was the robotics demonstration.

Students from several local high schools were showing their sophisticated robots, which can operate both autonomously and by manual control. These amazing robots are built every year to compete in the international FIRST Robotics Competition!

I saw one particular robot shooting balls into the air. One crazy looking robot with pipes sticking out of it was built to launch t-shirts!

All of the students I met were friendly and clearly smarter than me. Several provided technical explanations, which promptly went over my head.

I saw teams from Rancho Bernardo High School (Team E-Motion), Poway High School (Team Spyder), San Pasqual High School (Team SuperNURDS), and Escondido Charter High School (Team Daedalus).

Over the years, these local teams have had great success competing in the prestigious FIRST Robotics Competition. The acronym FIRST means For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.

The games that challenge the competing robots are changed each year, so students must utilize creativity, logic, engineering skills and sheer ingenuity. Robotics is one fun way to implement STEM education in schools!

Check it out!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Cool photo memories from October 2016.

Many cool events could be experienced in San Diego five years ago!

Looking back at photographs I took in October 2016, I see an amazing Maker Faire was held in Balboa Park, and a Festa with lots of chalk art was held in Little Italy.

Five year ago I also enjoyed two very unique museum exhibits, took a walk through beautiful Los Peñasquitos Canyon, and had my mind blown during a special tour aboard an oceanographic research vessel!

If you’d like to see lots of colorful photos, click the links that are coming up!

Click the following links to revisit fun old blog posts!

Cool photos of creativity at Maker Faire San Diego!

Beautiful chalk faces created on a Little Italy street!

Photos of chalk art at 2016 Festa in Little Italy!

Culture and history celebrated at Festa in San Diego!

History of firefighting at San Diego Firehouse Museum.

Joan Embery’s My Animal World at Bonita Museum.

Nature and history on a walk in Los Peñasquitos Canyon.

Photos aboard new Scripps research vessel Sally Ride!

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Historical marker at Kate Sessions nursery in Pacific Beach.

If you’ve driven down Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach, you might have noticed a couple of enormous old trees at the corner of Pico Street, just east of Soledad Mountain Road.

By the sidewalk stands an easily overlooked historical marker. It reads:

KATE OLIVIA SESSIONS’ NURSERY SITE

1857-1940

THIS PLAQUE COMMEMORATES THE LIFE AND INFLUENCE OF A WOMAN WHO ENVISIONED SAN DIEGO BEAUTIFUL. ON THIS SITE SHE OPERATED A NURSERY AND GAINED WORLD RENOWN AS A HORTICULTURIST. SHE WAS THE FIRST WOMAN TO RECEIVE THE INTERNATIONAL MEYER MEDAL IN GENETICS.

CALIFORNIA REGISTERED HISTORICAL LANDMARK NO. 764

PLAQUE PLACED BY THE CALIFORNIA STATE PARK COMMISSION IN COOPERATION WITH THE PACIFIC BEACH WOMAN’S CLUB.

JULY 7, 1961

Kate Sessions is probably best known as the Mother of Balboa Park. In addition to owning other nurseries and growing fields in San Diego, she maintained a small nursery in a corner of Balboa Park (originally called City Park) under an 1892 agreement with the City of San Diego. She was required under the lease to plant 100 trees in the park each year. Most of the older trees in Balboa Park that you see today were planted by her hand.

The colorful jacaranda trees seen around San Diego were also introduced to the city by Kate Sessions.

I recently blogged about the very first camphor tree planted in North America. She’s the one who planted it. The historic camphor tree stands just west of Balboa Park in Bankers Hill near a beautiful historic house. To revisit that old blog post, click here.

Here are a couple more photos that I took this weekend by the historical marker…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Kids learn while having fun with pop culture!

What’s the best way for kids to learn?

By having fun!

The very cool Comic-Con Museum@Home web page continues to grow and grow! It’s now bursting with fun activities for kids–educational activities that relate to the popular culture!

Not only are there oodles of downloadable, printable Fun Books, which are jam-packed with word puzzles, mazes, instructions on how to draw comic art, and fantastic coloring pages (including some by prolific San Diego muralist Gloria Muriel), but now you can watch lots of cool videos, too!

A brand new series of videos this summer will be showing kids how to create superheroes and other pop culture characters out of folded cardboard! The tutorials are by Connor and Bauer Lee. You might remember seeing their fantastic creations during December Nights here!

The first cardboard character kids can create by following a YouTube video is Wall-E!

The Comic-Con Museum has also partnered with Balboa Park’s Fleet Science Center for a series called Pop Culture Science. Celebrating the anniversary of the popular character Sherlock Holmes, there’s a video about how TV crime shows accurately or imaginatively portray real forensic science. Additional activities include how to detect fingerprints and write with invisible ink!

Learning is always best when it’s fun!

Check out the Comic-Con Museum web page with all of these great activities by clicking here!

A short story about how we are made of stars.

I finished writing another short story. This once has the simple title Twinkle.

Once upon a time I studied physics in college. Back then I learned that the elements composing you and I and the entire world were forged in the furnaces of stars. (Mostly, that is.)

A month or so ago I was out on one of my walks, moving through a poorer neighborhood, when I saw flowering weeds in the bare dirt of a front yard. And the seed for a philosophical story entered my mind.

The short story that finally grew and matured you can read here.

Exhibit illuminates intersection of art and science.

More, 2019, by Sheena Rae Dowling. Luminous sculpture in a darkened space depicts the scan of a healthy brain with normal rhythmic functions.
More, 2019, by Sheena Rae Dowling. Luminous sculpture in a darkened space depicts the scan of a healthy brain with normal rhythmic functions.

Art and science have much in common. Both explore deep mysteries and seek essential truths. Both often take paths that are complex. Both produce results that are often surprising.

A new exhibition at the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park explores the intersection of art and science. Illumination, 21st Century Interactions With Art and Science and Technology features thought-provoking pieces by 26 artists, many of whom were inspired by personal interactions with local scientists and technologists. Themes explored include Global Health and Discovery, Climate Change and Sustainability, and Technology and the Touch Screen.

Many of the pieces concern biology and biotechnology. That isn’t surprising. San Diego is a world center of biotech research. Many of the scientists who’ve inspired this artwork are making breakthrough discoveries at local institutions, like UC San Diego and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

If you want to be stimulated, step through the door of the San Diego Art Institute. Bop about this exhibition like a particle undergoing Brownian motion or a dawning Artificial Intelligence. You’ll encounter illuminating artwork that really opens your eyes and mind.

Don’t be left in the dark! Illumination turns off after May 3, 2020.

Illumination, 21st Century Interactions With Art and Science and Technology, lights up the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park.
Illumination, 21st Century Interactions With Art and Science and Technology, lights up the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park.

Moving through a gallery full of strangeness. Complex mysteries and unseen realities surround and penetrate each of us.
Moving through a gallery full of strangeness. Complex mysteries and unseen realities surround and penetrate us all.

Nucleus 1, 2019, by Anne Mudge. Artistic wire representation of folded strands of DNA, which in reality are about 6.5 feet long and packed inside a cell's microscopic nucleus.
Nucleus 1, 2019, by Anne Mudge. Artistic wire representation of folded strands of DNA, which in reality are about 6.5 feet long and packed inside a cell’s microscopic nucleus.

Leap of Faith, 2019, by Becky Robbins. Art, like science, begins with an idea that leads to questions. Links between considered elements appear. Some connections are obvious, others are vague.
Leap of Faith, 2019, by Becky Robbins. Art, like science, begins with an idea that leads to questions. Links between considered elements appear. Some connections are obvious, others are vague.

building, 2019, by Beliz Iristay. Deaf adults without a linguistic foundation early in life have altered neural structure, with long-term effects on mastery of complex grammar.
building, 2019, by Beliz Iristay. Deaf adults without a linguistic foundation early in life have altered neural structure, with long-term effects on mastery of complex grammar.

Chromosome 22, 2020, by Cy Kuckenbaker. The artwork includes a book-like printout of some 10,000 pages of a data sequence in the smallest of 23 human chromosomes.
Chromosome 22, 2020, by Cy Kuckenbaker. The artwork includes a book-like printout of some 10,000 pages of a data sequence in the smallest of 23 human chromosomes.

Shining Palimpsest, by Young Joon Kwak. I, you, she, he, they, we, it--tangled, twisted, uncertain. Who we are and how we are viewed depends on perspective.
Shining Palimpsest, by Young Joon Kwak. I, you, she, he, they, we, it–words that are tangled, twisted, sometimes uncertain. Who we are and how we are viewed depends on perspective.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Fascination, reflection, and a Recovered Stream.

I was getting ready to board a trolley this evening at America Plaza when activity in a window caught my eye.

A person inside the nearby Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego gallery was working above a small planet amid water-like artwork!

The title of the coming exhibition is Oscar Romo: Recovered Stream. According to the museum website: This fall and winter MCASD will present multiple talks by distinguished scientists who will share their knowledge about climate change in conjunction with the participatory exhibition Oscar Romo: Recovered Stream.

With some searching on the internet, I learned environmentalist Oscar Romo is a professor at UC San Diego. His area of expertise is coastal and marine ecosystem conservation, using a natural systems design perspective. He has a special interest in the San Diego-Tijuana border region.

The upcoming talks should be very interesting!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!