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The Boston Globe

Theater & art

Photography review

Dreaming machine dreams at MIT Museum

CAMBRIDGE — There’s a Milan Kundera novel with a supremely sad title, “Life Is Elsewhere.” Is life elsewhere? That depends on how you define “life.” There’s no debating that for the vast majority of people science is elsewhere. To be sure, the handiwork of science, technology, is pretty much everywhere. But science itself? Not really. It is its own realm: opaque, discrete, as daunting to consider as the square root of pi.

Stanley Greenberg seeks to overcome that apartness. He uses his camera to help us appreciate the wonder of science in operation — more specifically, of big physics, with its clean rooms and bubble chambers and toroid magnets and thin gap wheels and neutrino observatories and cryogenic feedboxes and calorimeters. Consider the poetry of those names, the way they evoke the miraculous even as they designate machinery. That’s what the three dozen black-and-white photographs in “Stanley Greenberg: Time Machines” do too. The show runs at the MIT Museum — a most fitting location — through March 30.

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