Where Science Meets Art

Alon Weingarten
"Iron sculptures"
Raoul and Graziella de Picciotto Building for Scientific and Technical Support, Entrance lobby

The Iron Age began some 3,200 years ago, probably in the area of modern-day Turkey. At the time, iron was used mainly for the production and design of various tools, such as spearheads, axes, and others. The ability to shape the metal as desired was made possible by the use of furnaces that smelted (or nearly melted) the iron, allowing smiths to bend it, or, later on, cast it into various objects by pouring it into specially prepared molds.

India was one of the first places in which iron was used to create sculptures. Even earlier, in Mesopotamia, iron was considered a particularly precious metal; in fact, its value in the ancient Mesopotamian civilizations exceeded that of gold.

With the advent of history and the proliferation of iron-based industrial uses, the metal came to symbolize strength. For example, in the ‘Ironman’ races, the ‘Iron Dome’ system, and more. Furthermore, in recent centuries, iron was perceived as a material that bespeaks power and eternality, at the hands of artists, who chiefly created impressive environmental sculptures, but also some that corresponded more with the human scale.

Alon Weingarten is the Head of the Weizmann Institute’s Construction and Engineering Division.