Student wins national Science as Art competition with Voldemort image

Media Contact: Chris Anthony, chris.anthony@auburn.edu, 334.844.3447

Armin VahidMohammadi depiction of an engineered nanomaterial

Auburn Engineering graduate student Armin VahidMohammadi won first place in a national research organization’s Science as Art competition for his depiction of an engineered nanomaterial as a character from the “Harry Potter” movie series.

VahidMohammadi, a doctoral student in materials engineering, created a digitally enhanced image of his research that bears a resemblance to Lord Voldemort, the villain in the “Harry Potter” series. After submitting the image for consideration to the Materials Research Society’s Science as Art competition, he won first place out of 168 submissions. The award comes with a $400 cash prize.

“I am honored to have my work showcased and recognized by such a prestigious organization,” VahidMohammadi said. “It was exciting that the competition allowed me to connect materials science with popular culture in a way that the general public can appreciate.”

Held since 2006, the Science as Art competition offers materials engineers and students the opportunity to transform their research into images renowned for their aesthetic qualities.

Using a scanning electron microscope, VahidMohammadi was examining particles of an engineered nanomaterial when he noticed a particular particle that resembled Lord Voldemort. He colorized the image and digitally enhanced it by adding eyes and teeth.

The particle pictured is known as Ti2C, which is a member of a family of two-dimensional, layered materials called MXenes. Ti2C has a wide array of applications, including as electrode materials for batteries and supercapacitors. The particle shown in the image is five microns in length, or roughly 10 times smaller than the width of a human hair.

A native of Iran, VahidMohammadi has studied at Auburn since 2015. He is advised by Majid Beidaghi, assistant professor of materials engineering in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Silhouette of Samford, Hargis, oaks, with tiger, eagle