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Ibn Al-Haytham’s Contributions to Optics and Renaissance Art

Ibn Al-Haytham’s Contributions to Optics and Renaissance Art

Lecture by Charles Falco

Given at the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies in Paris on January 19, 2015

Charles Falco explains, “I am going to talk about the science of optics, the history of western art, and the influence of Ibn Al-Haytham.”

Charles M. Falco earned his Ph.D. at the University of California, Irvine in 1974 and spent the next eight years at Argonne National Laboratory before joining the University of Arizona (UA) in 1982 as a Professor of Optical Sciences. In addition, he is Chair of Condensed Matter Physics and Professor of Physics at the College of Optical Sciences at UA. His group’s research involves the growth, study and applications of metallic and semiconductor superlattice thin films and epitaxial ultrathin films, as well as computerized image analysis.

Falco and artist David Hockney have researched how artists such as van Eyck, Bellini and Caravaggio used optical projections in creating portions of their work. Pursuing even earlier documentation of the use of optics resulted in new discoveries that have revealed Ibn al-Haytham’s contributions to broad areas of European culture.

See also Falco’s paper Ibn al-Haytham’s Contributions to Optics, Art, and Visual Literacy, co-written with Aimee L. Wetutz Allan

Charles Falco



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