Standing tall

Science centre sculpture unveiled at Abingdon School

The Science Fusion Tower, standing 10m tall and spanning three floors, is the centrepiece of Abingdon School’s new Yang Science Centre. The artwork rises through the stairwell and is an intricate design combining art and science. The sculpture illustrates themes from biology, physics and chemistry on each of the corresponding floors of the building, which opened in October.  

The view from the ground floor

Made from recycled zinc coated steel and enamel, the scientific themes range from nuclear fusion to the tree of life. Beginning with Biology, on the ground floor, a network of mangrove tree roots touch down onto a unique depiction of the evolutionary ‘Tree of Life’.  The middle section becomes Physics with a sculptural interpretation of the Tokamak fusion reactor with its plasma gas layers and hot plasma flares. The top floor is Chemistry represented by a canopy of hexagons in the structure of graphene under which is the unit cell structure found in diamonds.

The artwork was commissioned from sculptor Matthew Lane Sanderson and was made possible through a donation from a former pupil, Martin Iredale and his family. 

Looking down on the sculpture

Talking about the creation, Abingdon School’s Head, Felicity Lusk, said: “Matthew Lane Sanderson’s magnificent Science Fusion Tower will wend its way through the Yang Science Centre in perpetuity. It is a wonderful example of how creativity and beauty are throughout our lives, and how science and art are intertwined. It’s uplifting and inspirational.”

Speaking about the sculpture, when he won the commission, Matthew said: “I hope all who visit the Science Centre may enjoy both the visual and cerebral challenge presented for years to come.  It is my aim, not merely to decorate a building, but to inspire many generations of pupils to take up the challenges of science at Abingdon.”


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