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School of Science and Center for the Arts Host Speaker on the Intersections of Science and Art

The School of Science and the Center for the Arts at TCNJ are honored to host Dr. Roger Hangarter, Chancellor’s Professor of Biology at Indiana University, for two presentations in our Spring 2014 Arts Brown Bag and Biology lecture series.

Dr. Hangarter is a plant biologist who has received numerous awards for his scientific research and teaching, and who has also received national and international acclaim for his work at the intersections of science and art.  Professor Hangarter will showcase this interdisciplinary work in a presentation titled “Plants: They Whisper, Talk, and Even Move” on Friday, February 28, 2014, from 11:30 am – 12:30 pm, in the Mayo Concert Hall.

He will also present a biology research seminar titled “Function and Mechanisms of Light-induced Chloroplast Movements in Leaf Cells” on Thursday, February 27, 2014.

“Plants: They Whisper, Talk, and Even Move”

  • Friday, February 28, 2014
  • 11:30 am – 12:30 pm
  • Mildred & Ernest E. Mayo Concert Hall, Music Building



Presentation Overview

As a group, plants are among the slowest forms of life. With barely perceptible movements, plants merit little notice for most humans. With humanity moving at an ever-increasing pace, we are becoming further removed from the rhythms of plants. As a consequence, the appreciation of the importance of plants is receding in our collective consciousness to the point that, for many people plants are regarded as little more than ornamental objects. In this presentation, Hangarter will use time-lapse technology to demonstrate the remarkable dynamics of plant life and how keenly plants perceive and respond to their environment throughout their lives.

Examples from his sLowlife exhibit will be shown and a new exhibit, The Living Canvas, will also be introduced. The Living Canvas is the result of an art and science collaboration in which light is used to control the position of chloroplasts in the cells of live leaves to produce clear and recognizable images embedded within the live leaf structure. The sense of intrigue and mystery revealed in these works is meant to enhance our awareness of plant life and, hopefully, will provide a deeper appreciation of our relationship to plants and our environment.


About Dr. Roger Hangarter

Roger Hangarter received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 1981. He conducted postdoctoral research at Michigan State University and the University of Illinois, Urbana from 1981 to 1986 and then became and an Assistant Professor of Botany at Ohio State University where he was promoted to Associate Profossor in 1992. He joined the faculty at Indiana University in 1995 where he is currently a Chancellor’s Professor of Biology. Hangarter has published 80 research articles about plant physiology research, served on several Editorial Boards and as a Program Officer for Grant Programs at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). He served in various leadership positions with the American Society of Plant Biologists, including a term as President.

Hangarter received the 2004 Award for Exemplary Online Learning Resources from the MERLOT Organization, the 2005 Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge Award from NSF and the AAAS for the movie Return of the 17-year Cicadas. He also received teaching awards from the American Society of Plant Biologists (2007) and the Botanical Society of America (2009). In 2008, he received an Emmy Award for Photography for a PBS documentary, “The Natural Heritage of Indiana”. He was elected a Fellow of the American Society of Plant Biologists in 2007 and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences in 2011.

Hangarter also spearheaded the development of sLowlife, a traveling exhibit that was designed to bring a greater awareness of plants to public audiences. He also developed and maintains the Plants-In-Motion website ( to provide educators with informative materials including time-lapse movies of plants.

Hangarter has exhibited time-lapse and photography work in numerous national and international science and art venues, including, the WonderLab Museum of Science, Health and Technology, Bloomington, IN, the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul, MN, the Grunwald Gallery of Art, Indiana University, the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, IN, the Science Center Singapore, Indonesia, Museum.BL in Liestal, Switzerland, Turku Arts Academy, Finland, Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks, Tupper Lake, NY, McWane Science Center, Birmingham, AL, and Museum of Science and Technology, Santiago, Chile. In Chicago he has exhibited at the Field Museum, the David Weinberg Gallery, Loyola University Art Museum, and the Illinois Institute of Technology and Design. The sLowlife exhibit has been shown at the US Botanic Garden, Washington DC, he Museum of the Earth, Ithaca, NY, the Chicago Botanic Garden, Chicago, IL, and the Clifford C. Hach Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, and the Montshire Science Museum, Norwich, VT.


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