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My Favourite LC Physics Question....

It must be either evidence of Stockholm Syndrome or excessive nerdiness that I have a list in my head of my favourite LC Physics questions. Some I like because of the challenge they present, some because they were a bit of a gift to students, and some because of the subject matter they highlight. And if I had to pick just one, it would be part of that latter group: question 12c from 2017, which focussed on the theory that Rembrandt - amongst other renowned painters - used mirrors and lenses to help him in his art work, and that in particular he used a mirror to create a real image of himself on a sheet of copper, that he could then use as an outline for his own drawing.

I first came across the theory in the book (and documentary) Secret Knowledge by David Hockney. He writes about how he was always fascinated by the realism achieved by the painters of the 1500 - 1800s, and how he knows he could not paint in such a style even if he wished to do so. In discussing it with a physicist at a party one night, he realised that the ability to paint in such a way arrived just as curved lenses and mirrors became available, a coincidence he is inclined to believe is no coincidence.

His book cites much evidence, from the preponderance of left handed people in paintings, to the movement within a painting of the vanishing point. I find it all very convincing - but then it's the only art book I've ever read - and I believe its not widely accepted amongst artists. Either way, though, its really interesting physics.

I've put together a PowerPoint on the LC question and on the theory. It's here.

I've also recently uploaded a full set of revision notes for anybody who might want to use them in whole or in part, and I'm working on converting more LC question into ppt format to use in class.

Anybody who wants to use the site to share their own resources, please get in touch...

Hockney at work, copying the great masters...

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