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Enabling Transparency

Courtesy of Anna Mlasowsky
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Glass artist Anna Mlasowsky examines the history of the rare earth elements and their socio-ecological impact on local communities and the environment.


Mine Vessel glass sculpture

Mine Vessel by Anna Mlasowsky, 2022.

Science History Institute

On view through September 2023

On display in the Science History Institute’s lobby, Enabling Transparency features some of Mlasowsky’s work based on her research with our archival and object collections. 

Her glass artwork explores and interprets the connections between rare earth elements, their extraction, and their uses, including their effects as glass colorants.

A highlight of the exhibition is Mine Vessel, a glass sculpture that she donated to the Institute. Pink erbium ions, which have optical fluorescent properties particularly useful in certain laser applications, are incorporated into the glass compound, causing the piece to have its characteristic pink appearance.

Mine Vessel is also featured in the Institute’s July 28, 2022, collections blog post titled “The Color of Extraction.”

Mlasowsky is a Seattle-based, German-born visual artist who was a Haas Short-Term Fellow and the Institute’s first artist-in-residence.