Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The eventful summer of 2013 brought Michael Hengler to Princeton University to study with internationally known scientific glassblower Mike Souza. Mr. Souza has worked in the field for over 40 years and has held a position at Princeton University for over 20 years. Mr. Souza generously shared his extensive knowledge and life's long 'tricks' to the young artist and scientific glass hopeful. In this photo, Mr. Souza is utilizing a glass lathe, a blow tube (in his mouth) to add air which inflates the glass, and a handheld torch.

 Here you can see the glass lathe holding the glass in place. The lathe is used to rotate the glass piece on it's axis so the glassblower can make the various adjustments needed. Most scientific glass pieces begin as a hollow tube created in a factory. In this photo (right), you can see the initial tube size remaining on the left and the multiple changes the glassblower has made on the right. 

A Princeton Physicist, working on cutting edge Helium3 experiments, requires the use of a specialty glass, Aluminosilicate, because of it's impermeable properties. Mr. Souza and Michael constructed the four foot glass apparatus with eight perpendicular arms so that the Physicist could perform eight concurrent experiments at once (see left).

Why is an artist interning with a scientific glassblower at Princeton University? Michael is very comfortable with the glass medium and finds much enjoyment in problem solving with the scientists & creating this type of glass work. While attending the University of Oregon in 2007, Michael was employed by a geophysicist and has been producing scientific glassware for the University of Hawaii since 2012.  Finding himself fulfilled in this career path, @MikeHengler decided further formal training would be beneficial.

For more information on scientific glassblowing, check out the website American Scientific Glassblowers Society and for more details about Micahel Hengler's work and his artistic process go to