Physicists and humanitarians. Reading Art through Science

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Physicists and humanitarians. Reading Art through Science


At the Metropolitan Museum, physicists and chemists are applying cutting-edge scientific methods to study and protect great works of art.

In the basement of one of the world’s largest museums, Pablo Londero was handling a chip of paint no bigger than a flea. By placing it in a laser beam and analyzing the light it emitted, he was trying to figure out what sorts of pigments were on the chip. He hoped for a clear answer from this one sample: he had scraped it from a 17th century terracotta made by Luisa Roldán – the first female sculptor to work for the Spanish royal court – and didn’t relish the idea of creating another small defect in the priceless statue.

Examining ancient and valuable works of art is a daily task in the science department of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, where Londero is carrying out his postdoctoral research.

Like many research labs, the Met’s science department has an impressive collection of lasers, electron microscopes, and x-ray machines. Here, though, the scientists use these tools to study Egyptian mummies, pinpoint the conditions that cause daguerreotypes to whiten with age, or determine the inks used to pen 18th century manuscripts. They also help curators decide in which humidity and lighting conditions to store and display art. Studies like these require ultrasensitive and minimally invasive experiments.

In many ways, Padlo and his colleagues are traditional scientists: they publish their work in physics and chemistry journals, host Ph.D. students, and collaborate with and teach at leading universities. What is different is that they exploit the explanatory power of science to answer questions on art and history.

16. Ответьте на следующие вопросы, используя следующие выражения

I think ... Я думаю

It seems to me ... Мне кажется

From my point of view / viewpoint... С моей точки зрения

As far as I'm concerned, ... Насколько я могу судить

In my view/opinion ... По моему мнению

As I see it, ... Как я вижу это

As far as I can see, ... Насколько я знаю

To my knowledge,... Насколько мне известно

I guess ... Я предполагаю


1. Exact sciences and liberal arts. Should they be studied separately or cooperate with each other?

2. What methods and results of exact sciences may be used in liberal arts? Express your point of view with the help of following phrases


Unit 2


“Nothing happens until something moves.”

Albert Einstein

1. Запомните следующие слова и выражения:

To concern with – oтноситься к

To remain – оставаться

To seek – искать,

to exert – приводить в действие

exact sciences – точные науки

quantitative – количественный

accounting – учет

enormous influence – огромное влияние

impetus –импульс, толчок

in relation to – относительно

force – сила

momentum – импульс

equilibrium – равновесие

properties – свойства

lever – рычаг

axle – ось

dam – плотина, дамба

mechanical devices – механические устройства

dimension – размер

to determine – определять

to provide – обеспечивать

to describe – описывать

velocity – скорость

acceleration – ускорение

torque – вращающий момент

without regard без учета



2. Прочитайте и переведите текст, скажите, верны ли следующие утверждения, используя слова ”TRUE”, ”FALSE”

1. Historically, mechanics was among the first of the exact sciences to be developed.

2. Mechanics may be divided into two branches: statics and kinematics

3. The methods and results of the science of statics have proved especially useful in designing buildings, bridges, and dams, as well as cranes and other similar mechanical devices.


Mechanics is a science concerned with the motion of bodies under the action of forces, including the special case in which a body remains at rest. Of first concern in the problem of motion are the forces that bodies exert on one another. This leads to the study of such topics as gravitation, electricity, and magnetism, according to the nature of the forces involved. Given the forces, one can seek the manner in which bodies move under the action of forces; this is the subject matter of mechanics proper.

Historically, mechanics was among the first of the exact sciences to be developed. Its internal beauty as a mathematical discipline and its early remarkable success in accounting in quantitative detail for the motions of the Moon, the Earth, and other planetary bodies had enormous influence on philosophical thought and provided impetus for the systematic development of science into the 20th century.

Mechanics may be divided into two branches: statics, which deals with forces acting on and in a body at rest and dynamics, branch of physical science and subdivision of mechanics that is concerned with the motion of material objects in relation to the physical factors that affect them: force, mass, momentum, energy.

Statics, in physics, is the subdivision of mechanics that is concerned with the forces that act on bodies at rest under equilibrium conditions. Its foundations were laid more than 2,200 years ago by the ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes and others while studying the force-amplifying properties of simple machines such as the lever and the axle. The methods and results of the science of statics have proved especially useful in designing buildings, bridges, and dams, as well as cranes and other similar mechanical devices. To be able to calculate the dimensions of such structures and machines, architects and engineers must first determine the forces that act on their interconnected parts. Statics provides the analytical and graphical procedures needed to identify and describe these unknown forces.

Dynamics can be subdivided into kinematics, which describes motion, without regard to its causes, in terms of position, velocity (the rate at which the particles are moving), and acceleration (rate at which their velocity is changing); and kinetics, which is concerned with the effect of forces and torques on the motion of bodies having mass.

3. Сопоставьте термины с определениями.

1. force a) the length, height, width, depth, or diameter of something
2. velocity b) the force that causes something to turn around a central point
3. acceleration c) the amount of physical power with which something moves or hits another thing
4. dimension d) to control what something will be
5. axle e) the speed of something that is moving in a particular direction:
6. lever f) the amount of material in something
7. torque g) the rate at which the speed of an object increases
8. to determine h) the force that makes an object start moving, or keeps it moving
9. equilibrium i) a solid bar, often made of metal, that you put under a heavy object to move it.
10. mass j) a situation in which there is a balance between different forces or aspects
11.impetus k) a metal bar that connects a pair of wheels on a car or other vehicle


4. Распределите слова по частям речи и переведите их.

Special, exert, gravitation, mechanics, electricity, remarkable, magnetism, mathematical, quantitative, acceleration, enormous, provide, philosophical, statics, subdivision, material, conditions, describe, foundations, useful, mechanical, determine, analytical, action, graphical, identify, procedures, describe, velocity position, statics, property, energy, material, motion, planetary, remain, influence, dynamics, dimensions.

noun adjective verb

Переведите следующие слова, определите, какой частью речи они являются.

Electric, electrical, electrician, electricity, electrify, electrification, mechanic, mechanics, mechanical, mechanically, gravitate, gravitation, gravitational, gravity, identify, identification, identifiable, energy, energetic, energize, act, action, analytical, analyze, analyst, analysis, magnet, magnetic, magnetism, magnetize, quantity, quantitative, quantify, acceleration, accelerate, accelerator, use, useful, usefulness, user.

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