Editorial Science Illustration • Science Magazine • 2023
Painted portrait illustration of physicist Ettore Majorana, dramatically lit and partially in shadow, with anyons / Majorana fermions orbiting around him. Art by Olena Shmahalo for Science Magazine / AAAS.

Science Magazine / AAAS, 2023
Thanks to art director Marcy Atarod

Feature illustration

ZBrush, C4D, Clip Studio Paint

Portrait illustration for a Science article about the evasive Ettore Majorana and his eponymous quasiparticle, by Zack Savitsky. The Quantum Phantom: "A ghostly quasiparticle rooted in a century-old Italian mystery could unlock quantum computing’s potential—if only it could be pinned down."

The Majorana fermion, a type of anyon, is its own antiparticle. In the illustration, the particle and anti are shown spinning around one another while also orbiting their originator.

Sculpted portrait bust of physicist Ettore Majorana: three-quarter angle.
Sculpted portrait bust of physicist Ettore Majorana.
Sculpted portrait bust of physicist Ettore Majorana: back view.

Portrait bust of Majorana. 3D sculpture is not a typical part of the painting process and not always possible. But in this case I thought having a maquette would be beneficial, allowing me to try different angles and lighting quickly.

The clay renders above show a more refined version of the sculpture, finished after the painting was completed.

© Olena Shmahalo