Ross School - Senior Project 2013


Student: Kate Nelson        

Mentor: Carrie Clark

Domains: Science, Visual Arts, Media

Faculty Grader: James Earle


Documentation of Product


Title: the SUM of the PARTS


How do seven octillion atoms create the complex human body? The Sum of the Parts is an illustrated book and gallery installation that explores the concept of emergence in the human body. I clearly and accessibly explain how the human body is built up from atoms to macromolecules, cells, tissues, organs, and systems, highlighting its beauty, intricacy, and wonder. For the visuals in my project, I worked in a lab photographing neurons under the microscope, made a forensic facial reconstruction of a model skull, and created many other pieces of original artwork conveying key examples of emergence.



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       Links to purchase / preview book:




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             Slideshow of all artwork





Exhibition & Presentation Summary


See pictures from the gallery installation and book cover displayed on exhibition night above.


In my presentation I looked at my product itself as an emergent system. After introducing the concept of emergence, I discussed how many ideas and components interacted and came together to create my senior project. By talking about the emergence of my senior project, I was able to touch on the challenges I faced and skills I acquired through my process. Below are links to my presentation video and to the PowerPoint I used.


Presentation PowerPoint

Presentation Video

Presentation Video with Questions



Works Consulted


"About the Human Genome Project." Human Genome Project Information. U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, 19 Sept. 2011. Web. 12 Sept. 2012.


Alberts, Bruce, Dennis Bray, Julian Lewis, Martin Raff, Keith Roberts, and James D. Watson. "From Single Cells to Multicellular Organisms." Molecular Biology of the Cell. 3rd ed. New York: Garland Science, 1994. NCBI. Web. 8 Oct. 2012.


Alberts, Bruce. Essential Cell Biology. 3rd ed. New York: Garland Science, 2009. Print.


Alexander, Duane. "Human Cells 101." National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. National Institutes of Health, 18 Aug. 2006. Web. 8 Oct. 2012.


Arendt, Detlev. "The Evolution of Cell Types in Animals: Emerging Principles from Molecular Studies." Nature Reviews Genetics 9.11 (2008): 868-82. Scitable. Nature Education. Web. 24 Sept. 2012.


Ashley, Euan A., and Josef Niebauer. "Conquering the ECG." Cardiology Explained. London: Remedica, 2004. NCBI. Web. 17 Oct. 2012.


Bernstein, Harold. E-mail interview. 18 Nov. 2012.


"Biological Complexity and Integrative Levels of Organization." Ed. Laura Hoopes. Nature Publishing Group, 2008. Web. 25 Aug. 2012.


Brain, Marshall. "How Your Immune System Works." HowStuffWorks, 1 Apr. 2000. Web. 13 Nov. 2012.


Campbell, Neil A., and Jane B. Reece. Biology. 7th ed. San Francisco: Pearson, Benjamin Cummings, 2005. Print.


"Cell Adehsion and Cell Communication." Scitable. Nature Education. Web. 8 Oct. 2012.


Chowdhury, Debashish. "Immune Network: An Example of Complex Adaptive Systems." Cornell University Library (1998). 3 Mar. 1998. Web. 17 Nov. 2012.


Clemente, Carmine D. Anatomy: A Regional Atlas of the Human Body. Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger, 1975. Print.


Coolidge, Frederick L., and Thomas Wynn. "Executive Functions of the Frontal Lobes and the Evolutionary Ascendancy of Homo Sapiens." Cambridge Archaeological Journal 11.2 (2001): 255-60. Print.


Fox, Douglas. "The Limits of Intelligence." Scientific American 305.1 (2011): 36-43. Print.


France, Diane. "Forensic Facial Reconstruction." E-mail interview. 5 June 2012.


Gagnon, Steve. "The Element Oxygen." Jefferson Lab. Jefferson Lab. Web. 23 Sept. 2012.


Grand, Steve. "The Importance of Being Emergent." Creation: Life and How to Make It. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2000. 61-69. Print.


Hauser, Marc. "The Mind." Scientific American 301.2 (2009): 44-51. Print.


Holland, John H. Emergence: From Chaos to Order. Reading: Perseus, 1999. Print.


Hoss, Gabriel. "Forensic Facial Reconstruction." How It's Made. Discovery. 13 Mar. 2007. YouTube, 18 Nov. 2007. Web. 5 June 2012.


"How Much Water Is There on Earth?" HowStuffWorks, 01 Apr. 2000. Web. 18 Sept. 2012.


"The Immune System: In More Detail." Nobel Media, 8 Nov. 2004. Web. 15 Nov. 2012.


Johnson, Steven. Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software. New York: Scribner, 2004. Print.


Kauffman, Stuart A. At Home in the Universe: The Search for Laws of Self-organization and Complexity. New York: Oxford UP, 1996. Print.


Kross, Brian. "How Many Atoms Are in the Human Body?" Jefferson Lab. Jefferson Lab. Web. 8 Sept. 2012.


"The Life and Death of a Neuron." National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. National Institutes of Health. Web. 21 July 2012.


MacNeilage, Peter F., Lesley J. Rogers, and Giorgio Vallortigara. "Origins of the Left and Right Brain." Scientific American 301.1 (2009): 60-67. Print.


Malin, Gay. "Facial Reconstruction: An Artist's View." New York State Museum. Web. 5 June 2012.


Micklos, David A., and Greg A. FreyerDNA Science: A First Course. 2nd ed. Cold Spring Harbor: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 2003. Print.


Novikoff, Alex B. "The Concept Of Integrative Levels And Biology." Science 101.2618 (1945): 209-15. JSTOR. Web. 23 Aug. 2012.


Popova, Maria. "Michele Banks' Biological Watercolors." Brain Pickings. Brain Pickings, 29 Sept. 2010. Web. 16 Oct. 2012.


Schirber, Michael. "The Chemistry of Life: The Human Body." Live Science. Live Science, 16 Apr. 2009. Web. 9 Sept. 2012.


Strogatz, Steven H. SYNC: How Order Emerges from Chaos in the Universe, Nature, and Daily Life. 1st ed. New York: Hyperion, 2003. Print.


Van Regenmortel, Marc H.V. "Reductionism and Complexity in Molecular Biology." EMBO Reports 5.11 (2004): 1016-020. Web. 4 Aug. 2012.


Venter, J. Craig. "The Sequence of the Human Genome." Science 291.5507 (2001): 1304-351. AAAS, 16 Feb. 2001. Web. 8 Oct. 2012.


Watson, James D. DNA: The Secret of Life. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003. Print.


Williams, Robin. The Non-Designer's Design Book. Berkeley, CA: Peachpit, 1994. Print.


Wolman, David. "A Tale of Two Halves." Nature 483 (2012): 260-63. Print.


"Written in Bone: Forensic Facial Reconstruction." Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Smithsonian, 2009. Web. 23 June 2012.


Zimmer, Carl. "100 Trillion Connections." Scientific American 304.1 (2011): 59-63. Print.