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Four Student Works Selected for First Images of Research Exhibition at the Graduate Center

What meteorites tell us about the origins life and Earth. How commercial gentrification affects certain neighborhoods in Paris and Brooklyn. What photographs reveal about women’s roles in the Algerian War for Independence. How light-matter interactions can unlock the secrets of different materials. The four images selected for the inaugural Images of Research juried exhibition at the Graduate Center convey these varied and fascinating student research topics. 

Created by doctoral students Shah Faisal Mazhar (Physics), Mabel Gray (Earth and Environmental Sciences), Maura McCreight (Art History), and Maura McGee (Sociology), the images were chosen for their originality, aesthetic appeal, and ability to spark curiosity. They will be on display as part of the Images of Research exhibition at the Graduate Center’s 365 Fifth Avenue building and at the Advanced Science Research Center beginning in the fall 2021 semester. The exhibition was conceived to showcase student research to the public in a visual format and to celebrate students and their innovative work. 

Works Selected for the 2021 Images of Research Exhibition at the Graduate Center:

“Portal to Hell” by Shah Faisal Mazhar, Ph.D. student in Physics

“Portal to Hell” by Shah Faisal Mazhar, Ph.D. student in Physics

Faisal Mazhar investigates nonlinear light-matter interactions, which have the potential to affect biomedical imaging and other applications. In his words, “The picture shows the white supercontinuum at the middle and the four-wave mixing as the multicolor rings of the outer radius. These are the basic nonlinear interactions I study for different materials in different conditions. This picture represents the combination of the most important nonlinear light-matter phenomena that my research is based on.”

“Microscopic Universe” by Mabel Gray, Ph.D. student in Earth and Environmental Sciences

“Microscopic Universe” by Mabel Gray, Ph.D. student in Earth and Environmental Sciences

Gray researches chondrites, a type of meteorite thought to be a building block of Earth, hoping to learn more about their contribution to the origin of our planet and of life on it. Her image is a photomicrograph of a thin-section (very thin slice) of a chondrite. “One of the components of these meteorites are organic molecules, which might have been the starting material of life on our planet,” she explains.

“Photographic Archives of the Algerian War of Independence” by Maura McCreight, Ph.D. student in Art History

Through her dissertation, McCreight aims to retrace photographs and other visual materials of women during the Algerian War for Independence, which began in 1954 and ended French colonization in Algeria in 1962. “The image shows a part of my at-home workspace where I've hung a selection of found and/or purchased photographs related to my dissertation research,” she explains. She adds that she is fascinated by “the intricate stories revealed from the images and how they intersect or overlap. I am also fascinated by the overwhelming challenge of excavating images from the war as a separate process from the experience of writing.”

“When I go out, I want to be free, not courageous” by Maura McGee, Ph.D. candidate in Sociology

“When I go out, I want to be free, not courageous” by Maura McGee, Ph.D. candidate in Sociology

McGee studies commercial gentrification in Black and immigrant neighborhoods in Brooklyn in Paris, tracing the transformation of local shopping streets. Specifically, she studies the Goutte d'Or neighborhood in Paris' 18th arrondissement, which, she explains, is “the symbolic center for many African communities in France due to its important commercial landscape. It is also a highly stigmatized and policed neighborhood.” McGee was in Paris conducting fieldwork for her dissertation when the pandemic hit in March 2020. “A national lockdown went into effect on March 17, and I walked down rue Myrha, one of the principal shopping streets in the neighborhood that’s been the target of the city’s urban renewal plans to upscale the commercial offerings,” she writes. “On that day, the neighborhood was abuzz with local residents and shoppers from around the greater Paris region stocking up on groceries and exchanging information with each other. At noon, the national police arrived and began ticketing anyone who was in the street, exhibiting a stronger police presence than in other Paris neighborhoods with fewer migrants and racial minorities. I took this photo of a man walking down rue Myrha in front of a mural that reads, ‘When I go out, I want to be free, not courageous.’” 

The images were selected by a committee of six faculty and staff members from across the Graduate Center, and were among 36 submissions that were received in June 2021.

Submitted on: JUL 8, 2021

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