High school students at Camp Zama paint mural that illustrates history of physics
Trisha Dring, a senior at Zama American High School at Camp Zama, Japan, paints a mural on the wall of her school's physics classroom, a project she and five of her classmates conceived as part of an end-of-year presentation. Also pictured is freshman Nathan Fuentes, a partner in the project.

CAMP ZAMA, Japan (May 4, 2012) -- An artistic project conceived and executed by students at Zama American High School here, which will serve as an illustrated timeline of some of the key figures in the world of physics, is nearing its completion.

The worlds of art and science were brought together by six ZAHS students who utilized their own imaginations and creative skills to design and paint a large mural on the wall of their school's physics classroom.

The project came about as part of an end-of-year presentation that will be given in the physics class. While other students chose traditional science projects dealing with sound waves and colored gases, Trisha Dring, a senior at ZAHS, came up with the idea for the mural.

"I have always been interested in both science and art," said Dring. "I am fascinated with the world around me, and always loved picking up pencils [and drawing] to occupy my time."

Dring and her partners in the project have been working on the mural for about two months. They pored over science books and decided who of history's many great scientists and thinkers to include in the mural. Also included are visual representations of various landmark scientific discoveries, celestial bodies, and the future of science.

"The difficult part is getting everything extremely accurate," said Dring. "If we draw anything wrong, it's going to be there for years to come."

The mural is divided into sections, beginning with the planet Jupiter. It continues with the sun and Mercury; portraits of famed thinkers such as Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, Emilie du Chatelet and Albert Einstein; and illustrations representing quantum physics and string theory.

It was Nathan Fuentes, ZAHS freshman and co-leader of the project, who suggested including du Chatelet in the mural.

"Newton and Einstein are both huge names when it comes to science, but not many people really know about Emilie du Chatelet," said Fuentes. "She is actually the bridge between Newton and Einstein, because she took Newton's work and studied her own way, and she published her own version of Newton's work. Einstein later took her paper, and that was what he used as the basis for his famous equation, E=mc2."

Department of Defense Education Activity Pacific schools held a week-long promotion for students to apply their science, technology, engineering, mathematics, communication and problem-solving skills, known as STEM Awareness Week, April 23-27.

Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Murphy, a licensed professional civil engineer stationed in Hawaii, visited Zama High during that time and was very impressed with the mural, said Lee Carroll, a science teacher there.

"I want [the students] to further their own abilities; I want them to engage in the curiosity of science," said Carroll. "[Their mural] is really magnificent, and I'm so proud them."

The mural is expected to be finished within this month.

"My favorite thing about science is learning new things, because science is the foundation of [everything]," said Fuentes. "I [also] see the future in media arts, because media arts is one of the most high-tech ways to get a message out to people."

Page last updated Fri May 4th, 2012 at 00:00