And now, artists 3D print a pulsar. Really?
A pulsar, as most of us may be aware of is a highly magnetized rotating neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation. It spins very rapidly, causing it to pulse its radio signals on a very reliable frequency, hence it is named “Pulsar.” The first pulsar ever cited was cited by Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Antony Hewish on November 28, 1967. But why exactly are we talking about a pulsar in a printer’s site? Here’s the answer to that. Two artists in one place on our good old earth have 3D printed a pulsar. No, not the original one; we don’t have a 3D printer yet to do that, but its miniscule version if you would like.
Named Vela, this pulsar is the artwork of Katie Davies and Peter Walters, who is a research fellow at the Centre for Fine Print Research at the University of the West of England. As explained by Walters to wired.com, the actual pulsar from space, which is approximately 950 light years away from the Earth, gave them more than just a tip on how to create its own 3D plot. They used the digital audio file corresponding to the radiation beam from the pulsar received by a radio telescope to generate the shape of the sculptural artwork, which was in turn fabricated by 3D printing. Davies and Walters gathered the data from the Australian National Telescope Facility.
If you want to have a look at the artwork of the pulsar, it is on display at the Mixed Signals exhibition at the Boston Cyber Arts Festival. The festival will be held at the Atlantic Wharf in Boston, Massachusetts from February 27 - April 13, 2012. The exhibition is free and open to public.
In fact, this is not the first time Davies and Walters have created an artwork of the pulsar. In Autumn 2010, they created one for the Edinburgh Printmakers Gallery as part of their show called 3D 2D: Object and Illusion in Print. Same conversion process was used for this very pulsar artwork as it was used by Vela. However, the star radiation beam on our desks is an add-on.