You are here

The Art of Science: From Perspective Drawing to Quantum Randomness

Rossella Lupacchini and Annarita Angelini, editors
Publication Date: 
Number of Pages: 
[Reviewed by
Charles Ashbacher
, on

The word “art” has two meanings; the first is in reference to items such as paintings and sculptures. The second usage is to refer to areas of endeavor that rely on experience, insight and judgment, for example “the art of medicine” and “the art of computer programming.” Both meanings of the word are used in this book, with the second dominating the first.

The opening chapters deal with the discovery of the geometry of perspective and how it was applied by artists to revolutionize the quality of artwork. Using geometry to set up the structure of a painting was very much the beginning of what the author refers to as “the science of painting.”

The second section is where mathematics dominates, with advanced geometry such as the Gauss-Bonnett theorem, the pseudosphere, quaternions and the hyperbolic plane being historically examined and explained. This involved some very significant mathematical processes before it is applied to artwork involving symmetry and rotations.

The final section opens with a brief history of the development of probability theory and the science of incorporating shadows into paintings. In a jump to a new track, there is a section on quantum events before there is a section on the development of complex numbers and further explanations of quantum theory. There are no references to art in the last section.

The chapters on the geometry of perspective used in art will please all math instructors that need to answer the question sometimes posed, “When will we ever have to use this geometry stuff?” Art students will be able to understand this section if there is a bit of holding of their intellectual hands. The remaining sections are for math people, the history will appeal to those unfamiliar with those topics, although one struggles to find a connection between art and quantum mechanics. 

Charles Ashbacher splits his time between consulting with industry in projects involving math and computers, teaching college classes and co-editing The Journal of Recreational Mathematics. In his spare time, he reads about these things and helps his daughter in her lawn care business.

From Perspective Drawing to the Eighth Dimension

Seeing Reality in Perspective: The Art of Opticsand the Science of Painting

The Role of Perspective in the Transformation of European Culture

Visual Differential Geometry and Beltramis Hyperbolic Plane

All Done by Mirrors: Symmetries, Quaternions, Spinors, and Clifford Algebras

Artists & Gamblers on the Way to Quantum Physics

Radices Sophisticae, Racines Imaginaires: The Origins of Complex Numbers in the Late Renaissance

Random, Complex, and Quantum