PHYS 498 ART :: Physics Illinois :: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Activities and Assignments

The activities and assignments are designed to realize the philosophy behind this class: exploring science in and through different media of art, using your imagination, and bringing creations to life in ways that suit you best. 

Artist's depiction of a neutron star. Credit:

Class Participation: Generally, each class will involve focusing on one or more scientific concept and genre of art and studying how concepts are depicted by these genres. Examples include the cosmos, quantum physics, and fluids; theater, visual arts, music, and design. The format of the class will involve a brief presentation by the instructor and guests, dialog, and short student presentations on some days. Some classes may involve field trips. Active participation may include active discussion, presenting material, initiating project ideas, etc.

Project Time: Complementing class time, we will meet once a week for a minimum of an hour  for formulating and working on projects. This hour is to ensure that we all come together - actual project time will necessarily take longer and will count as homework. 

Creative Fragments – Instead of standard homework, you will submit (as a physical or digital copy or an in-class performance) three 'creative fragments' that you have made inspired by in-class explorations. These fragments could involve a very short piece of writing, a physics derivation, a creative way of sharing any research you may be doing, a visual art piece, a video link to something you’ve created….Let your imagination flow and enjoy!
Tentatively, the first of these assignments will be due on February 19th

Short Presentation – Starting after the first few weeks of classes, each student will give a 10-20 minute presentation on any course related material of their choice and interest in consultation with the instructor. Dates for these presentations will be assigned by the instructor and as these presentations will serve as a part of the in-class discussion please do come prepared to present on that day.

Written Assignments - Over the course of the semester, you will be required to submit four written assignments detailing your project and the progress of your work on it. First of these assignments will be a short project proposal due on February 2ndThe second written assignment will be formatted as an exploration of a physics topic agreed upon in consultation with the instructor, due on March 9th.  The third written assignments will be progress reports concerning your final project, due on March 16th. Guidelines and a grading rubric will be provided for all four of these assignments and each will contribute to your final grade. 

Final project The final project will evolve throughout the semester and will culminate in a creative piece of work that depicts chosen scientific concepts through some medium of art. Typically each project is put together by a team (whose members are matched based on their interests, experiences and inclinations), and could a performance, a video clip, an installation, creating a book, etc. Project involvement is on multiple fronts from brainstorming, to creating, to presentation. 

All final projects will be presented at a public event in place of a final examination for the class . Each student will be responsible for creating a page for our Projects website detailing their work, concepts that motivated it, and the finished project. 

As reference, here is the link for last year's public event/exhibit and the website created by the class:



The web-based gradebook will show, for all aspects of the class, exactly how you are progressing. At the end of the course, all components will be put together to obtain the final grade. During the term, you should regularly check that the homework and discussion grades are correctly entered in the gradebook. It is your responsibility to bring any problems with your assigned grades to the attention of your instructor immediately.

Credit can be exchanged between assignments subject to the discretion of the instructor (e.g. combine 2 creative fragments into one bigger fragment)


Academic Integrity

All activities in this course, including documentation submitted for petition for an excused absence, are subject to the Academic Integrity rules as described in Article 1, Part 4, Academic Integrity, of the Student Code.

Student final presentations Spring 2017