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Jeff La Belle, assistant professor in Biomedical Engineering was recently selected to attend and present at the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative Conference on Art and Science, Engineering, and Medicine Frontier Collaborations: Ideation, Translation & Realization.

La Belle was one of only 100 faculty members selected (nationally and internationally) for the prestigious event.

The event was designed to explore the collaborations of arts, design, sciences, engineering and medicine and their roles in spurring innovation targeted at real-world solutions.

La Belle presented with a team about a solution to fusing Art into STEM education. His diverse team included artists, engineers, musicians, dancers, a museum curator, a writer, a neuroscientist and a pediatrician.

“We presented a concept called the Undisciplined Classroom,” La Belle said. “Art is not a vehicle or tool to be used by STEM, it is fused with it.  An embodiment of this is a sculpture called ‘What is Time?’”

La Belle, who is an engineer and a blacksmith, is building the “What is Time?” sculpture for the team. The structure is a metal sculpture with three metal Japanese Water Fountains, running three different colored liquids with different viscosities that when the bamboo shoots drop, they clang with a different note at different times.  He notes that time, volumes, fill volumes, apparent viscosity, all sorts of things can be measured using this concept.

La Belle will serve as the principal investigator on a future Keck grant based on the conference work to deliver this to local K-12 classrooms and the development of kits for the classroom.


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