In The Field

APS 2010: Sculpting physics

During a press conference today, I was pleased to meet the artist Jim Sanborn, a specialist in scientific sculptures who is probably one of the Washington DC’s most important artists. Sanborn is currently most famous for a piece, pictured here, that sits near the entrance to the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Using techniques taught to him by a former CIA spook, Sanborn in 1990 created the undulating copper screen with its 1,800 encrypted characters. Most have already been hacked, and the letters translate to three ambiguous and slightly sinister messages. But the last part, 97 or 98 characters long, has remained unsolved. 

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