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Art & Science

Although Science is intrinsically confined within the limits of real world, the beauty of scientific research sometimes resembles a piece of artwork. Furthermore, Art overcomes the limitations of experimental science inspiring us for the creation of  new conceptual devices. Research and Art converge in many cases and we are always delighted when we find this intersections of art and science.


For the maximum exponent of combined art and science we all immediately think about the genius of Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo de Vinci spread his talent in almost all the disciplines of art and sciences. In the picture you can see Leornardo´s draft  for hang gliding that actually looks pretty much to the actual designs. It is the genius of a man like Leonardo that can make possible the impossible.


Galaxies far far away from Leonardo we sometimes try to contribute with our very little grain of sand to the artistic side of science.


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The front cover of Nature Chemistry Reviews has recently featured our paper surveying all the synthetic materials at the forefront of gene delivery! Very nice drawing inspired in our paper by Carl Conway!


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A nice water coloured painting of our oligoalanine helical callipers for cell penetration!!


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Eugenio Vazquez strikes again!! This time his drawing made in into the cover of Nanoscale Horizons about peptide fibrillation in confined spaces! Congratulations to Ale Méndez for this wonderful work!


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We won the Front Cover of the December Issue of Chem. Sci.!! Thank you Eugenio Vázquez for the great drawing and Congratulations to Irene, Iria and Marisa for this wonderful work!


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Rebeca dynamic simulations can sometimes lead to artistic images. Iria’s peptide in his hydrophobic tail extended conformation made it to the cover if the 2017 emerging investigators issue of the Journal of Materials Chemistry B!!! Congratulations to Iria and Rebeca for this nice work and cover picture!!


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Around three years ago (2013) I met my friend Francisco Fernandez-Trillo at Playa America beach and we discussed about a potential collaboration to combine his polymers with our experience in dynamic bonds. We decided to apply for a fellowship to the Royal Society to start the collaboration.  We got the grant and we then started working in the project. Curiously, two years later with the project almost finished, I met with my artist friend Bea Pérez at the Playa de Patos (Patos Beach) and I told her about this research and she decided to draw a conceptual drawing for this history. This beautiful master piece ended up as the back cover of Angewandte of April 2016!! Art and Sciences met once again.


We have been again awarded (September 2014) with the cover of the Journal Small for our work of DNA sensors by pattern recognition! Eugenio Vazquez assisted us with this nice picture!!


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We have been awarded with the publication of this nice cover in the journal “Accounts of Chemical Research” . In this special issue of Accounts worldwide experts go deeply into the topic of membrane transport, an area to which we are very proud to contribute with our supramolecular designs for the preparation of ion or molecular transporters. This wonderful cover was painted by our coworker from the real art world Beatriz Perez. It represents the conceptual ion and molecular transport carried out by artificial supramolecular structures across lipid bilayer membranes. Designed by Javier Montenegro and Beatriz Pérez, and drawn by Beatriz Pérez. For more info click the cover!


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As many artists find their inspiration in the hard moments also scientist go through many difficulties during research projects. In these difficult moments the scientist has to focus to overcome different problems and finally reach the desired objective. During my postdoc in Geneva (Prof. Matile), we were involved in a project studying the exciting anion-pi interactions by means of aromatic molecules with positive quadrupole moments (electron deficient). Hardly attempted by many PhDs and Post-docs of the lab we could never prepare the “super” receptor tetracyano NDI. This elusive molecule is too electron deficient to exist and/or to unstable to be observed. However, in the unlimited world of imagination it was possible to conceptually achieve the structure of this molecular entity. Rohana, the wife of the first author of this research (Ryan Dawson) painted this beautiful molecular portrait that was finally published in the cover of the prestigious journal Nature Chemistry. The cover of Nat. Chem. was definitely a wonderful outcome of a beautiful piece of research (not lacking of a little bit of frustration). If you want to read the whole history please click the cover!


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La trahison des images” or the “treachery of images” are a series of paintings from Rene Magritte where the representation of a real object is accompanied with the statement: “Ceci n'est pas un(e) ....” (This is not a...). The painting is just a representation not the object itself... so, after all, his statement is right.


“The famous pipe. How people reproached me for it! And yet, could you stuff my pipe? No, it's just a representation, is it not? So if I had written on my picture "This is a pipe", I'd have been lying!”


Again during my postdoc in Geneva we were able to develop an artificial nose for volatile molecules. We were also awarded with the cover of the journal “Chemistry an Asian Journal”  where we also played again with the free association of ideas: Ceci n'est pas un nez! This is not a nose! Click the cover if you want to know more about cell penetrating peptide noses CPPNs!

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In our recently published JACS paper of hybrid nanometric composites from carbon and peptide nanotubes we have again collaborated with some friends that helped us making some fancy conceptual designs about our nanometric hybrid structure. Bea Perez with the pencil and Eugenio Vazquez with the computer made this two beautiful drawings. Which one do you  like most? Click the tubes if you want to know more about hybrid tubular nanometric assemblies!


Thanks for reading!


A wonderful image for our paper in Nature Chemistry Reviews by Bea Pérez!


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Thanks Eugenio for the awesome cover for our collaboration with @MetBioCat!

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Our work in 2D assembly of cyclic peptides has been featured in JACS!! Thanks Julián for the cover design! Congratulations to Nacho for this work!