Ice sculptures

January 29, 2014 • 10:51 am

Student life at the University of Chicago is famously un-fun: we were, in fact, voted last on a national list of “fun colleges”—and the students are proud of it! Every year, for instance, the students sell tee-shirts showing our school at the bottom of the fun rankings, along with the motto “The University of Chicago: Where fun comes to die.” (Another favorite shirt proclaims: “The University of Chicago: Hell does freeze over.”)

But the administration does its best to try to enliven the College Experience for a bunch of studious kids.  Sadly, their “idea” of fun involves things like having students get up at 6 a.m. on days as cold as this and gather at the gym daily for a week to do group exercises (I think they used to do them by the lake in the freezing weather). Calisthenics build solidarity!

Our winter fun also includes ice sculpture. Once a year, during the coldest weather, the U of C hires several ice sculptors to carve blocks of ice in the quad right outside my lab.  They’re quite amazing—at least until they’re vandalized, which takes about a week.

They just went up this week, so here are two showing the U of C emblems: a phoenix and a gargoyle:

Ice sculpture

During the day. Note the modern touch: that scanning code, whatever it’s called.

Ice sculpture 2

photo 8

photo 7

26 thoughts on “Ice sculptures

  1. if the Theory of Evolution is true, how come there aren’t any real phoenixes or gargoyles?
    CHECKMATE, evolutionists!

  2. They use computers and machines (CNC ice carving machines) to carve these sculptures. That is why they look so perfect.

  3. Very nice.

    In order to do a similar thing at UK universities we would need to find a way of creating art out of puddles.

    Any ideas?

    1. TJR: In sunny weather (joke) add a few drops of oil to a medium-sized puddle. Take time-lapse photos with the camera tripoded and, either or both, make glossy prints from the better examples of the spectrum patterns or import the photos into movie software using fade transitions between each.

    1. I don’t think the QR code is made out of ice. It looks to me that it is just a plexiglass sign that the company sets next to their sculptures.

    1. I am visualizing John Cleese as Basil Faulty saying “don’t mention the zamboni”

      – Your spelling is Fa’w’lty.

      1. Best I can tell, that is not a gargoyle but rather a grotesque.

        It appears its mouth is closed so it cannot represent a waterspout, which is a requirement in order to be considered a gargoyle.

  4. “Student life at the University of Chicago is famously un-fun: we were, in fact, voted last on a national list of “fun colleges”—and the students are proud of it!”

    I would be proud too. Had I to do it over, I would have explored attending the U of C or some other more serious institution, as opposed to the nearby path-of-least resistance/close-to-the-apron strings-of-home “football school.”

    What omniscient, enlightened soul presumes to be so in-the-know about such matters as to be competent to publish such a list? Some Twenty-Something football obsessive? What institutions are in the top ten of that list, and what does that say about their aspirations? (I know there have been “Party School” lists.) There’s a difference between fun and fatuous.

    Apparently, Bread and Circuses, not Enlightenment is the purpose of a university to such a fatuous mindset.

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