Skip to main content

Podcast: Picasso's Mysterious Paint

On today's podcast I talk with Francesca Casadio, a scientist at the Art Institute of Chiago, and Volker Rose, a physicist at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory. Together, this duo just answered a long-standing question about the type of paint Picasso used in some of his pieces (including The Red Armchair, seen here). The paint in question was the first commercial house paint, and a symbol of Picasso's rebellion against the old world art establishment. It's a story of mystery and passion, like a Nancy Drew book, but with science! (And no murders or trap doors.)

While art historians obviously benefitted from this research, Rose says the study provided valuable information for him as well. The key ingredient in both house paint and artists paint at that time, was zinc oxide: a material that has properties similar to silicon, making it a candidate for use in various electronic devices

To hear more, check out this week's podcast


Popular Posts

How 4,000 Physicists Gave a Vegas Casino its Worst Week Ever

What happens when several thousand distinguished physicists, researchers, and students descend on the nation’s gambling capital for a conference? The answer is "a bad week for the casino"—but you'd never guess why.

Ask a Physicist: Phone Flash Sharpie Shock!

Lexie and Xavier, from Orlando, FL want to know: "What's going on in this video ? Our science teacher claims that the pain comes from a small electrical shock, but we believe that this is due to the absorption of light. Please help us resolve this dispute!"

The Science of Ice Cream: Part One

Even though it's been a warm couple of months already, it's officially summer. A delicious, science-filled way to beat the heat? Making homemade ice cream. (We've since updated this article to include the science behind vegan ice cream. To learn more about ice cream science, check out The Science of Ice Cream, Redux ) Image Credit: St0rmz via Flickr Over at Physics@Home there's an easy recipe for homemade ice cream. But what kind of milk should you use to make ice cream? And do you really need to chill the ice cream base before making it? Why do ice cream recipes always call for salt on ice?