Art and Science

"We get very used to our own worlds, and when you go and step into somebody else’s world, it makes new connections in your brain and opens up your thinking... Art and science do similar things, we like to look at the world and try to understand it."

Dan Simpson, Poet in residence at Imperial College London

Find out more about Dan the poet.

Poet in residence, Dan Simpson, has been collaborating with Imperial researchers to bring research, poetry and public perspectives together through new and exciting work. Explore the poems below.

Having a poet in residence has allowed both Dan and our researchers to explore their work through different lenses. Through the residency, conversations between Dan, researchers and the public have led to the creation of word-based art that explores Imperial's world-leading research and has allowed wider audiences to get to know our researchers in new and engaging ways.

Psychology and nature with Dr Ans Vercammen

Dr Ans Vercammen is a Research Fellow in the Centre for Environmental Policy investigating links between psychology and environmental change. In their collaboration, Dan and Ans explored our connections with green and blue space in their piece Back to Nature and travelled into the ocean to reflect on these connections and our mental wellbeing in The Certainty of Pressure.

"I was a little apprehensive at the start, but it’s just been really, really fun... I love seeing [my work] reflected in this way."
In this video, images of nature and landscapes are shown.

Back to Nature

A crowdsourced poem by Dan Simpson

This piece was crowdsourced as part of poet Dan Simpson's residency. After setting prompts with Imperial researcher Dr Ans Vercammen, Dan collected words from the public on the theme of our relationship with nature. He then edited these contributions together to create this poem.

Back to Nature poem‌.

The video is a spoken-word poem with images of the sea shown.

The Certainty of Pressure

A collaborative poem by Dr Ans Vercammen and Dan Simpson

Taking inspiration from Ans' research into blue space and mental health, here Dan and Ans explore the nature of psychological and atmospheric pressure through scuba diving. As the poem transports you deeper into the ocean, they reflect on why we are drawn to water.

The Certainty of Pressure‌.

Chemistry and connectivity with Dr Manjula Silva

Dr Manjula Silva is a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Materials, with research interests in bio-based and biodegradable materials for sustainable development and applications. Dan and Manjula’s collaboration explored ongoing cycles and connections, from materials to the planet and people to Buddhism 

Chemistry and Connectivity

This piece was crowdsourced with the public. After setting prompts with Manjula, Dan collected words from the public on the theme of chemistry, materials and connectivity. He then edited these contributions together to create this poem - Chemistry and Connectivity.

"I loved explaining Buddhism, as part of my cultural background. It was really interesting to link that into my scientific work."
Video of Dan creating a paper chain made from lines of poetry as he reads the poems.

Three chemically connected poems

Through a series of conversations and collaborative writing, Dan and Manjula have created three interconnected poems. These explore Manjula's research interest in recyclable polymers and come to centre around the idea of ongoing connections and cycles. In this meditative piece, we explore our connections with ourselves, each other and the planet. The poem also contains extracts read by Manjula in Sinhalese.

Three Chemically Connected Poems
Why not make your own connected poem?

Pushing boundaries with Tom Hodson

Tom Hodson is a PhD student in the Department of Physics. His research looks at collective behaviour and unconventional states of matter that don’t fit into a solid, liquid or gas ‘box’.

"I've really liked how it’s all worked - super proud of it coming together into something really interesting."

Miscellaneous work

As well as collaborating with researchers in the projects described above, Dan has been involved in an exciting myriad of other projects. He hosted Imperial's first-ever poetry slam, featured in the Imperial Magazine and podcast, and led workshops for staff at Imperial.

Poets read out poems

Nature Slam

As part of Imperial Lates Online: Back to nature, Dan Simpson hosted our very first poetry slam in collaboration with Imperial's research centre for climate change and the environment - the Grantham Institute. The event featured seven spoken word artists all competing for the public vote and showcased Imperial poets and work created during the residency.

Dan and Ans on their collaboration and how art and science aren't that different