Public Lecture on Art and Science
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Thursday, February 23, 2012
at 7:00 PM
Holland Hall, 501
Web Link:
Brian Borovsky


Dr. Charles Falco, a Phi Beta Kappa visiting scholar from the University of Arizona, will present a public lecture, "The Science of Optics; The History of Art," examining evidence that master painters in the 15th century used optical instruments as aids to creating realistic scenes on canvas.

Dr. Falco writes: "In this talk I show a wealth of evidence the artist David Hockney and I discovered that demonstrates optical instruments were in use -- by artists, not scientists -- nearly 200 years earlier than commonly thought possible. These discoveries account for the remarkable, but previously unexplained, transformation in the reality of portraits that occurred early in the 15th century."

CHARLES M. FALCO University of Arizona Charles Falco has joint appointments in optical sciences and physics at Arizona, where he holds the UA Chair of Condensed Matter Physics. His principal research involves the study of thin film materials, including work on magnetism, superconductivity, x-ray and infrared optics, elastic properties, and nucleation and epitaxy, as well as computerized image analysis. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Optical Society of America, and the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers, and a recipient of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Senior Distinguished U.S. Scientist Award. In addition to his scientific work, he was co-curator of the award-winning industrial design exhibition The Art of the Motorcycle that set attendance records at the Guggenheim Museums in New York, Las Vegas, and Bilbao, Spain. More recently, he collaborated with artist David Hockney to discover evidence showing many artists as early as Jan van Eyck used optical projections in creating portions of their work. These findings have been profiled in a BBC documentary and numerous articles in the popular media, and were the subject of two international conferences.

Degrees: B.A. University of California, Irvine 1970 M.A. University of California, Irvine 1971 Ph.D. University of California, Irvine 1974

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