Lab-grown Ear, 2013 by Sarah Bay Williams


One of five piñatas in the series 2013: the Year in Science.

In February of 2013, scientists announced that they had used a 3D printer to print and grow a living ear from living cells. Inside Lab-grown Ear are chocolates, confetties, things you use an ear for, and things that make sound. Please destroy on the night of April 19, 2014, and take all that is inside for yourselves.

The piñatas of 2013: the Year in Science included four additional piñatas: Voyager (which was destroyed on January 23, 2014), Higgs Boson (which may or may not be still extant), Stem-cell Hamburger (which may or may not be still extant), and Chelyabinsk Meteor (which is still waiting to be destroyed).

It appears that in August, 2013, Voyager 1, the NASA spacecraft that was launched in 1977, left our solar system for Interstellar space. Evidence of the Higgs boson was confirmed March 14, 2013. On August 5, 2013, Hanni Rutzler, a nutritional scientist, was the first to taste a hamburger that was grown from stem cells in a laboratory. And on February 16, 2013, a giant meteor exploded in the friction of the atmosphere over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk.

Inside the piñata Higgs Boson, I put the smell of the center of the universe, among other things. Also chaos. The other piñatas contain things relevant to their cores.

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To destroy the outside—the shells—of these objects is to process them. Inside are trinkets made meaningful; a story to pass on to those unfamiliar.