full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Natalya St. Clair: The unexpected math behind Van Gogh's "Starry Night"

Unscramble the Blue Letters

As difficult as turbulence is to uedatnnrsd mathematically, we can use art to depict the way it looks. In June 1889, vnenict van Gogh pteinad the view just before sunrise from the window of his room at the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, where he'd admitted himself after miuainlttg his own ear in a psychotic episode. In "The Starry nhigt," his circular brushstrokes create a night sky filled with swirling clouds and eddies of stars. Van Gogh and other Impressionists represented light in a different way than their predecessors, seeming to crpaute its motion, for itnncase, across sun-dappled waters, or here in star light that twinkles and melts through milky waves of blue night sky. The effect is caused by luminance, the intensity of the light in the colors on the canvas. The more primitive part of our visual cortex, which sees light contrast and motion, but not coolr, will blend two dtfnieelrfy creolod aears together if they have the same luminance. But our brains' primate sibuisodivn will see the contrasting colors without blending. With these two interpretations happening at once, the light in many Impressionist works seems to pulse, fileckr and ritadae oddly. That's how this and other Impressionist works use quickly executed prominent brushstrokes to capture something sgritnliky real about how light moves.

Open Cloze

As difficult as turbulence is to __________ mathematically, we can use art to depict the way it looks. In June 1889, _______ van Gogh _______ the view just before sunrise from the window of his room at the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, where he'd admitted himself after __________ his own ear in a psychotic episode. In "The Starry _____," his circular brushstrokes create a night sky filled with swirling clouds and eddies of stars. Van Gogh and other Impressionists represented light in a different way than their predecessors, seeming to _______ its motion, for ________, across sun-dappled waters, or here in star light that twinkles and melts through milky waves of blue night sky. The effect is caused by luminance, the intensity of the light in the colors on the canvas. The more primitive part of our visual cortex, which sees light contrast and motion, but not _____, will blend two ___________ _______ _____ together if they have the same luminance. But our brains' primate ___________ will see the contrasting colors without blending. With these two interpretations happening at once, the light in many Impressionist works seems to pulse, _______ and _______ oddly. That's how this and other Impressionist works use quickly executed prominent brushstrokes to capture something __________ real about how light moves.

Solution

  1. mutilating
  2. subdivision
  3. differently
  4. capture
  5. instance
  6. areas
  7. understand
  8. color
  9. radiate
  10. vincent
  11. flicker
  12. colored
  13. painted
  14. night
  15. strikingly

Original Text

As difficult as turbulence is to understand mathematically, we can use art to depict the way it looks. In June 1889, Vincent van Gogh painted the view just before sunrise from the window of his room at the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, where he'd admitted himself after mutilating his own ear in a psychotic episode. In "The Starry Night," his circular brushstrokes create a night sky filled with swirling clouds and eddies of stars. Van Gogh and other Impressionists represented light in a different way than their predecessors, seeming to capture its motion, for instance, across sun-dappled waters, or here in star light that twinkles and melts through milky waves of blue night sky. The effect is caused by luminance, the intensity of the light in the colors on the canvas. The more primitive part of our visual cortex, which sees light contrast and motion, but not color, will blend two differently colored areas together if they have the same luminance. But our brains' primate subdivision will see the contrasting colors without blending. With these two interpretations happening at once, the light in many Impressionist works seems to pulse, flicker and radiate oddly. That's how this and other Impressionist works use quickly executed prominent brushstrokes to capture something strikingly real about how light moves.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
turbulent flow 3
van gogh 3
night sky 2
impressionist works 2
turbulent fluid 2

Important Words

  1. admitted
  2. areas
  3. art
  4. asylum
  5. blend
  6. blending
  7. blue
  8. brushstrokes
  9. canvas
  10. capture
  11. caused
  12. circular
  13. clouds
  14. color
  15. colored
  16. colors
  17. contrast
  18. contrasting
  19. cortex
  20. create
  21. depict
  22. differently
  23. difficult
  24. ear
  25. eddies
  26. effect
  27. episode
  28. executed
  29. filled
  30. flicker
  31. gogh
  32. happening
  33. impressionist
  34. impressionists
  35. instance
  36. intensity
  37. interpretations
  38. june
  39. light
  40. luminance
  41. mathematically
  42. melts
  43. milky
  44. motion
  45. moves
  46. mutilating
  47. night
  48. oddly
  49. painted
  50. part
  51. predecessors
  52. primate
  53. primitive
  54. prominent
  55. psychotic
  56. pulse
  57. quickly
  58. radiate
  59. real
  60. represented
  61. room
  62. sees
  63. sky
  64. star
  65. starry
  66. stars
  67. strikingly
  68. subdivision
  69. sunrise
  70. swirling
  71. turbulence
  72. twinkles
  73. understand
  74. van
  75. view
  76. vincent
  77. visual
  78. waters
  79. waves
  80. window
  81. works