This post is just a placeholder for REFERENCES and LINKS for a student research poster to be presented at the North Carolina Geographical Society annual meeting in Greensboro, NC on November 1, 2019.
ABSTRACT: Lightning is a short-lived, but powerful part of nature. Although it is often photographed in modern times, lightning flashes have seldom been depicted by landscape artists. Colorful skies were common through art history and paintings, but most lightning storms in western landscape art have depicted the flashes as white, or yellowish. An interesting part of art history is the red lightning bolts depicted in the classic paintings of Japan’s Edo Period (1603 – 1868). All Ukiyo-e artists (at least for those whose work has survived), almost always depicted lightning as red in color. Furthermore, the bolts are painted in a nearly abstract, linear fashion, and not in lightning’s true dendritic shape. Is the red lightning of this famous period artistic license, or can it be explained as something else? Are there meteorological or cultural reasons why these artists painted lightning as red? Could the style reflect mythology and representation of the metaphysical rather than realism? Importantly, are there atmospheric science lessons to be learned, and teaching moments to be made in this discussion? The purpose of this educational project is to advance that dialog.
No foolin’ !!! Last night was the Graduate School Symposium and Open House. Current graduate students, potential graduate students and their families enjoyed poster presentations, refreshments and opportunities to discuss our numerous graduate programs. There were a record number 69 posters submitted this year. I had four of my graduate students present posters.
You can find more information about the Graduate School linked here:
FYI: The following is the abstract for my oral paper presentation at the upcoming North Carolina Academy of Science meeting to be held in Wilmington, NC March 22-23, 2019.
Science education, meteorology and myth: The lightning and wind gods of Japan.
This project derives from educational modules developed for teaching atmospheric science concepts to non-science, general education college students. Folklore and mythology are not proper history or science fact, however there may be persistent, underlying truths to the narrative themes inherent in folklore. Japan’s Shinto religion holds Raijin as a god of lightning and thunderstorms, and Fujin as the god of windstorms and tornadoes. There are rational, scientific reasons why the activities of these metaphysical sky deities persist into modern, secular Japanese culture. Although Raijin and Fujin were revered as “kami” or gods, they were depicted as demonic, destructive forces of nature in traditional Japanese art and architecture. This educational project will explain the science analogies which can be used to explain the Shinto allegory in Japanese culture. Meteorological lessons were made to describe, or at least reinforce the mythology as depicted in Japan’s art, architecture and land use. Myths such as Raijin’s penchant for eating the navels of children, or why Fujin’s skin is green, can be used as discussion points to illustrate meteorological principles in an interesting way for non-science majors. For example, all Japanese painters of the Edo Period depicted lightning flashes as red in color, even though lightning clearly is not red. It might have been artistic license, or perhaps there are meteorological reasons as to why lightning was always colored that way. This teaching module explains weather phenomenon such as gust fronts, nitrogen fixation by lightning, the destructive east winds of cyclones, and others. Through the use of atmospheric science concepts in the context of art and mythology, it is hoped that arts and humanities students will come to better appreciate meteorology. Geoscience majors in turn, could have basic meteorological concepts reinforced, and also gain a better appreciation for art, history and culture.
Feel free to contact me for a copy of the full presentation or collaborative ideas.
Update! Here is a slide show gallery of my presentation.
This was a wonderful trip! I had not been in Kent for almost 20 years. So much has changed … What ever happened to JB’s Down?
The Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center is a wonderful place. The whole downtown Kent area has been transformed in the past few years. Also, I could believe all the new buildings that have been erected on campus.
It was another successful Applied Geography Conference. Much thanks to Dr. Jay Lee, the AGC Director for many years.
This is a group photo of current Kent State University Climatology faculty and graduate students. Oddly absent in the above photo however … is my dissertation adviser Dr. Thomas Schmidlin. Fortunately, I was able to catch up with him at lunch the next day and at the conference keynote address.
Also notable: While I was in Kent I visited Ray’s Place. My friend Bob (also an old KSU room mate), was kind enough to buy me a late lunch. I had the “Mofo Burger“.
Look for me at the next Applied Geography Conference to be held in Charlotte, NC October 2019.
Update: The YouTube video blogger Joe from “Our Earth” provided this introduction to the conference.
Oh man, it rained every day of the conference. I was hoping to get a better look at all the new features of KSU. I still had a great time, but there was never a good day for walking around.
The Sun came out the morning after the conference was over and I was checking out.