Changing Planet

Discovering the Higgs through Physics, Dance and Photography


¨World of Dances¨ . Location: Yale University . Dancer: Lea Winter . Photograph © KIKE CALVO


The Arts Council of Greater New Haven has chosen our project ¨Discovering the Higgs through Physics, Dance and Photography¨, as one of the seven chosen to receive funding as part of Reintegrate*: Enhancing Collaborations in the Arts & Sciences.

The Project´s team is formed by Sarah Demers (Physics – Assistant professor, Physics Department at Yale University ), Emily Coates (Dance . Director of the dance studies curriculum at Yale University) and myself (Photography.)

The recent discovery of a particle that is consistent with the Higgs boson has resulted in considerable interest among the general public. The last of the predicted particles within the standard model of particle physics, the Higgs is the mechanism responsible for the mass of subatomic particles.

Our Reintegrate project will translate the details of the Higgs boson discovery into a series of precisely choreographed visual images. By translating potentially the greatest breakthrough in particle physics in the 21st century through the intersecting artistic mediums of photography and dance, we will investigate the problem and benefits of communication across three disciplines that weigh heavily toward the non-verbal articulation of ideas.

The Team:
Sarah Demers (Physics) is a particle physicist and an assistant professor in the Physics Department at Yale University. As a member of the International ATLAS Collaboration, she uses data from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland in her research on elementary particles and the forces that govern their interactions. Professor Demers received a bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvard University and her Ph.D. from the University of Rochester. She is on the executive committee of the users organization that represents the 1000+ American physicists whose research is based at CERN. In 2011 she received an Early Career Award from the Department of Energy for her work at ATLAS.

Emily Coates (Dance) has directed the dance studies curriculum at Yale University since its inception in 2006. From 2006 to 2012, she also served as the artistic director of the World Performance Project at Yale, a performance research initiative established to draw artists and scholars into dialogue. A dancer, choreographer, writer, and researcher, her work assumes a variety of formats, often through interdisciplinary and cross-cultural collaboration. She has danced with New York City Ballet and in the companies of Mikhail Baryshnikov, Twyla Tharp, and Yvonne Rainer. She graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in English and holds an M.A. in American Studies from Yale.

Kike Calvo (Photography) . It is an honor to be a part of an exciting new exploration that is incorporating new aspects of expression into a topic unfamiliar to the arts; science. With the new discovery of the particle, “Higgs Boson”, and it’s great potential to our future in terms of development in technology, and our society this project is something I deem extremely important. I believe my team and I will deliver a unique yet tantalizng vision that will include all three subjects, Science, Dance, and Photography to a final product hopefully leaving observers in amazement. This privilege and rendering form of my professional art, photography is something I take with great esteem, as I look forward to the outcome I’d like to thank all in involved and congratulate all teams invited into this Reintegrate project.

To learn more about the Higgs:

¨God particle¨Found?  “Historic Milestone” From Higgs Boson Hunters

Discovery News: Particle ´consistent´with Higgs Boson Discovered


*Reintegrate: Enhancing Collaborations in the Arts and Sciences is made possible through a Creative Placemaking Pilot Program grant from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts.


Award-winning photographer, journalist, and author Kike Calvo (pronounced key-keh) specializes in culture and environment. He has been on assignment in more than 90 countries, working on stories ranging from belugas in the Arctic to traditional Hmong costumes in Laos. Kike is pioneering in using small unmanned aerial systems to produce aerial photography as art, and as a tool for research and conservation. He is also known for his iconic photographic project, World of Dances, on the intersection of dance, nature, and architecture. His work has been published in National Geographic, New York Times, Time, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, New York Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair, among others. Kike teaches photography workshops and has been a guest lecturer at leading institutions like the School of Visual Arts and Yale University. He is a regular contributor to National Geographic blog Voices. He has authored nine books, including Drones for Conservation; So You Want to Create Maps Using Drones?; Staten Island: A Visual Journey to the Lighthouse at the End of the World; and Habitats, with forewords by David Doubilet and Jean-Michel Cousteau. Kike’s images have been exhibited around the world, and are represented by the National Geographic Image Collection. Kike was born in Spain and is based in New York. When he is not on assignment, he is making gazpacho following his grandmother’s Andalusian recipe. You can now buy Kike´s products: You can travel to Colombia with Kike:
  • Barbara Matthews

    I am thrilled to find your post. I was a ballerina with ABT .i also choreoographed a ballet based on the spiral movement a as seen physically manifested in waves and many other natural forms at Columbia’s Miller Theater. I am fascinated by your idea. How can I see your work or get involved with what you are doing? I have attended Yale’s World Performance Project seminars in the past.

  • Aviana Spruill

    First of all, congrats on being chosen to receive funding! Your project is a ground-breaking piece of collaborative work and is truly inspiring. I am currently an Environmental engineering student at the University of Southern California and one thing that I always am bothered by is the lack of communication outside of the scientific community. I once took my friend to an environmental panel that laid out all the innovative energy sources we have discovered now and they had no idea that so much was going on behind closed doors! This Higgs boson discovery is a huge breakthrough and by using visual arts to express that so many more people will be in the know about such huge and cool discoveries! I am a huge advocate for interdisciplinary studies and one of the most effective ways to combine science and dance is to help communicate complex ideas. Dance is something that everyone can relate to and enjoy watching so it’s incredibly smart to take advantage of that and use it to get people to listen. I am inspired by what you do in these fields!

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