Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Dr. Charles M. Falco to visit Centre
March 22, 2012 By Elizabeth Trollinger
Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, giving convocation address at
8 p.m. on Thursday, March 29 in Newlin Hall, as well as
speaking at 4:10 p.m. the same day in Olin 124.
Dr. Charles M. Falco will speak at Centre College as this year’s Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar. Falco, a physicist from the University of Arizona, will give a convocation address titled “The Science of Optics, the History of Art” at 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 29 in Newlin Hall, and will also speak on “The Art and Materials Science of the Motorcycle” at 4:10 p.m. the same day in Olin 124.
Falco, along with British artist David Hockney—recently named the most famous living British artist—is known for his hypothesis that artists have been using optical devices in order to paint realistically since as early as the fifteenth century, nearly 200 years earlier than previously thought.
These discoveries account for the remarkable, but previously unexplained, transformation in the reality of portraits that occurred early in the 1400s.
“This Falco-Hackney hypothesis really is world-renowned and truly has shaken up all of art history in the way people look at the progression to realism,” says Associate Professor of Chemistry Jeff Fieberg. “Anyone who’s taken humanities classes will appreciate these connections between physics and art, and because a lot of the paintings Falco will discuss are used in Centre’s humanities classes.”
In his talk on motorcycles, Falco will use examples from a recent exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum on “The Art of the Motorcycle” to examine how technology has developed in the 150 years that motorcycles capable of achieving high speeds have been mass-produced.
Phi Beta Kappa recognizes juniors and seniors for outstanding achievements in the liberal arts and sciences. It is the oldest and most highly regarded undergraduate honors organization in the country. Centre established its chapter in 1970, and remains only one of two institutions of higher learning in the state to be so honored. Centre is one of the five smallest schools in the nation with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter.
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