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TO SEPT. 14
Over the years, the National Academy of Sciences has developed a knack for mounting eye-popping exhibitions of works that either embody or explain scientific principles. “The Beauty of Phenomena: Art in the Communication of Science” follows this pattern, featuring eight scientifically minded artists. Three, however, are particularly noteworthy: David S. Goodsell, author of several illustrated books, offers a series of eight watercolor panels that delve into the microscopic universe of the cell in a color palette so closely resembling that of a Tintin comic book that you half expect Snowy to poke his head out of the thicket of intracellular structures. Physicist Sidney Nagel offers several memorable photographs that capture the graceful geometries of humble physical processesdrips falling from a faucet; a glass straw sucking up liquids. The most impressive oeuvre in the exhibit, however, may be that of sculptor Helaman Ferguson, who uses mathematical precepts to rigorously undergird his works in bronze and granite. While the underlying math will likely exceed the knowledge of many visitors, the resulting three-dimensional formssome bulbous, some honeycombed, some elegantly streamlineddazzle the mind in their own right. On view from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, to Sunday, September 14, at the National Academy of Sciences, 2100 C St. NW. Free. (202) 334-2436. (Louis Jacobson)