Introduction to Biomaterials

From the time of cave paintings, artists have been depicting living organisms. But what happens when the art consists of the organism itself or its products? Living material is dynamic by nature, and so the artwork changes with time, perhaps in unpredictable ways. In this class we will explore various biomaterials, including organisms such as bioluminescent plankton and plants that respond to touch, fermentations that create color pigments or cellulose mats, and the DNA that controls it all. The class will be part lecture, part hands-on experience.

Course Code: RS 201f

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.