Dunkerley Dialogue with Anna Von Mertens and Kendrah Murphy

In front of a colorful, abstract painting sit two women in conversation, one with her back to us and the other facing us, smiling.
Dunkerley Dialogue with Anna Von Mertens and Kendrah Murphy in Parallax: Framing the Cosmos, Tang Teaching Museum, April 20, 2023, photo by Shawn LaChapelle

Join us Thursday, April 20, at 6 pm, for a Dunkerley Dialogue with artist Anna Von Mertens, whose work is featured in Parallax: Framing the Cosmos, and Skidmore Associate Professor of Physics Kendrah Murphy.

Dunkerley Dialogues pair Skidmore professors with artists in a conversation format, which is often a catalyst for new connections and understandings across disciplines, and can spark new ideas for all participants. Dunkerley Dialogues are made possible by a generous gift from Michele Dunkerley ’80.

This event is free and open to the public.

About the Speakers

Anna Von Mertens is an artist whose work uses the material intelligence of making as a lens to see science and history. She is the recipient of a 2010 United States Artists Fellowship in Visual Arts and a 2021-2022 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she studied dark matter as a structuring force in our universe. Her artwork has been exhibited widely at institutions including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum; Berkeley Art Museum; RISD Museum; Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery; Aspen Art Museum; Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College; and National Museum of Art, Architecture, and Design in Oslo, Norway. Her 2018-2019 exhibition Measure presented at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University is traveling in 2023 to University Galleries of Illinois State University as well as Oberlin College’s Allen Memorial Art Museum. She received a Sloan Foundation grant in support of her current book project to be published by MIT Press in the fall of 2024 titled Attention Is Discovery: The Life and Work of Henrietta Leavitt.

Kendrah Murphy is an Associate Professor and the Associate Chair of the Physics Department at Skidmore College. Her current research focuses on the X-ray spectral analysis of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN). After graduating from Skidmore with a BA in physics and mathematics, she earned her PhD from the Physics and Astronomy Department at Johns Hopkins University. While completing her doctoral studies, she gained experience in X-ray instrumentation and data analysis at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and, as part of her dissertation work, developed a computational model of X-ray reprocessing in AGN that is now used extensively by the AGN community. Murphy continued her research at the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research as a post-doctoral research associate before joining the Skidmore faculty in 2010. She teaches a range of courses within the physics curriculum that explore topics such as Newtonian mechanics, electromagnetism, relativity, quantum physics, and mathematical and computational methods of problem solving, and regularly works with Skidmore physics students at all levels on AGN research.

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