About Because Science

Amanda Preske has been creating since she was a child. Fond of both art and science, she ended up going to college for chemistry. Not wanting to abandon her love of the arts, she continued to feed her creative side by taking night art classes and selling her handmade beaded jewelry at craft shows.

Upon discovering broken equipment in the labs, she endeavored to transform it into something beautiful. She experimented with casting the broken circuit boards in resin to create pendants and found the combination to be striking. Customers at craft shows were very receptive to her new work, so she was inspired to expand her offerings.

While in graduate school at the University of Rochester, her business continued to grow, eventually becoming Circuit Breaker Labs. During the day in the ”real” lab she was synthesizing quantum dots (tiny semiconductor crystals), and at night she worked on expanding Circuit Breaker Labs by perfecting her processes, developing new products, and continuing to sell her creations at craft festivals.

Upon successfully defending her PhD thesis in 2016, she decided to change careers from being a research scientist to pursuing a career with Circuit Breaker Labs as a professional artist.

Customers love seeing science presented in a creative way, through an artist’s lens, so Amanda created Because Science. It is a new retail concept that combines a science gift shop with hands on, experiential activities that aim to make science more enjoyable and approachable for kids & adults.

Because Science is different from a science museum. The purpose is to demonstrate the artistry in science, involve customers in ongoing citizen science projects, present classes where patrons can create science-inspired projects (like dinosaur ornaments!), and celebrate scientific milestones without jargon. Because Science also aims to amplify the stories of BIPOC, women-identifying, and LGBT+ scientists and science enthusiasts so that people who want to pursue science can feel seen and supported.

The Because Science gift shop will contain Circuit Breaker Labs products (and the opportunity to order custom circuit board art and ornaments) as well as STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) gifts like apparel, jewelry, home décor, stationary, and artfully designed novelties. Event schedules will be posted monthly and will include make-and-take projects, workshops, classes, and demonstrations.

Founder: Amanda Preske

Scientist-turned-artist Amanda Preske is on a mission to bridge the gap between science and art while encouraging responsible recycling. With her business, Circuit Breaker Labs, she transforms electronic waste into wearable art and gift products in her Washington, D.C. studio. These boards were discarded and unwanted, but when paired with Amanda’s expertise and critical eye, they become beautiful futuristic worlds captured under resin.

(L) Amanda and (R) one of her workstations

Amanda’s foray into creative business began as a teenager. Enthralled with glass beads and techniques for weaving them together, she had made too much jewelry for her family to wear. She created Beadwork by Amanda at 14 and has been selling her handmade jewelry ever since.

 

(L) Fine detail work and (R) a photo of the semiconductors synthesized in the real lab

Amanda holds a PhD in chemistry (in semiconductors, no less!) and while she no longer practices in a chemistry lab, her jewelry studio is her current laboratory. Her interest in using circuit boards as a creative medium started as a freshman in chemistry at RIT, where she found constant reminders of the problems caused by obsolete technology. Labs always had broken equipment and dead, dusty computers piled in the corner. Always filled with curiosity and the desire to make things, she disassembled the broken waste and developed a way to morph circuit boards into her polished aesthetic.  

Over a decade later, Amanda is still enthralled with the beauty in electronics and has turned everything from computers and cell phones to calculators and Arduinos into jewelry, accessories, gifts, and décor. Unfortunately for the planet, there is no shortage of electronic waste and Amanda sources everything from individuals, universities, and companies looking for alternative ways to handle e-waste.

 

(L) Sketching new ideas and (R) Amanda exhibiting at a Maker Faire in 2017

Everything from cleaning newly acquired circuit boards, applying resin, and packaging and shipping orders all happens in the lab. Just like a real lab, close-toed shoes, pants, and PPE (personal protective equipment) are required for safety! Amanda is involved every step of the way, and she’s the one you hear from directly when you send an e-mail or reach out over social media. So, if you want to learn more about Amanda and what she does, don’t hesitate to send an email or comment on an Instagram post to connect with Circuit Breaker Labs!

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

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