A stunning sculpture, the Science Fusion Tower, standing 10m tall and spanning the three floors of Abingdon School’s new Yang Science Centre was unveiled this week. The artwork, which is the centrepiece of the new building, rises through the stairwell and is an intricate design combining art and science. The sculpture illustrates themes from Biology then Physics and finally Chemistry on each of the corresponding floors of the building, which opened in October. Made from recycled zinc coated steel and enamel the scientific themes range from nuclear fusion to the tree of life. Beginning with Biology, on the ground floor, a network of mangrove tree roots touch down onto a unique depiction of the evolutionary 'Tree of Life'. The middle section becomes Physics with a sculptural interpretation of the Tokamak fusion reactor with its plasma gas layers and hot plasma flares. The top floor is Chemistry represented by a canopy of hexagons in the structure of graphene under which is the unit cell structure found in diamonds.
The artwork was commissioned from sculptor Matthew Lane Sanderson and was made possible through a donation from a former pupil, Martin Iredale and his family.
Talking about the creation, Abingdon School’s Head, Felicity Lusk, said, “Matthew Lane Sanderson's magnificent Science Fusion Tower will wend its way through the Yang Science Centre in perpetuity. It is a wonderful example of how creativity and beauty are throughout our lives, and how science and art are intertwined. It’s uplifting and inspirational.”
Speaking about the sculpture, when he won the commission, Matthew said, “Standing as tall as a three-storey house and over a ton in weight, this sculpture could be considered Big! Whilst its purpose and obvious presence will be clear, it holds some secrets also. Semi-transparent and with no solid volumes, there are some conceptual 'keys to life’ within the structure and discernable for those who are prepared to find them. By identifying these keys, and linking them to each other, I hope all who visit the Science Centre may enjoy both the visual and cerebral challenge presented for years to come. It is my aim, not merely to decorate a building, but to inspire many generations of pupils to take up the challenges of science at Abingdon.”