the walls--400 lab / DSCN0030a
Varian Impressionist painting
This poster was distributed at several meetings, including
the 1995 ENC in Boston, marking the 50th anniversary of NMR.
The first two (and later Nobel Prize-winning) papers on NMR were published
in 1946, one from Harvard (Bloch) and one from
Stanford (Purcell). This is a somewhat curious picture, an Impressionist
rendering of what is clearly the Varian applications
laboratory in Palo Alto. The people in the lab are also semi-recognizable.
I suppose that the subjects of the original Impressionist
paintings were equally recognizable to the artists' friends, and they weren't
bothered by it, but somehow this treatment of the
lab doesn't really work for me.
In the 1960's, when Varian was flying very high, the Varian brothers hired
Ansel Adams to take pictures of corporate events.
This is in some ways an even stranger idea, the photographer known for taking
pictures of remote and unchanging natural
scenes, sometimes waiting days for the light to be exactly right, snapping
photos of people at cocktail parties. I have to think
Ansel Adams charged high fees to do that kind of work. The business
side of NMR is quite different now, and as far as I
know, nobody commisions well-known artists these days.