Tree of Life & Dance of the Planets Reliefs
Given by the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation
In honor of Kathleen M. Duncan '82
Framing the Science Center's entrance are two curved cement panels cast with ancient and modern patterns. One is a Celtic image called the Tree of Life, a symbol significant in nearly every studied culture. With its roots reaching deep into the earth and its branches stretching toward the sky, the Tree of Life dwells in three realms—hell, earth, and heaven—and links between the past, present, and future. Trees have long been a symbol of the most basic life-giving force: a renewable source of sustenance, shelter, and fuel.
The second curved panel shows a spirograph. Amazingly, the pattern is created when the relative motion of Earth and Venus are charted and is called the Dance of the Planets. Both curved panels are framed by the Greek Key, an ornamental design of arranged vertical and horizontal lines often seen in Classical art and architecture and, incredibly, a design very similar to the folding patterns of proteins.