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Contributed by Mike Haaf on 10/31/2013
Mike Haaf (Chemistry) and Gary Wells (Art History) have co-authored a publication in the Journal of Chemical Education entitled "Investigating Art Objects through Collaborative Student Research Projects in an Undergraduate Chemistry and Art Course." The article can be viewed here: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/ed400145g
Article abstract:Inspired in part by Chemistry Collaborations, Workshops, and Community of Scholars workshops, the Chemistry and Art course offered at Ithaca College is team-taught by a chemist and an art historian, underscoring the complementary nature of the two disciplines. The course, populated primarily by nonscience majors, highlights the importance of using both historical knowledge and empirical measurements to address particular questions about a work of art. The course culminates in a collaborative student research project in which students must select a nonaccessioned art object, generate a series of questions about the object, and subsequently use available scientific tools to attempt to address these questions. Undergraduates are exposed to a variety of techniques used in the analysis of art objects, including visible and infrared spectroscopy, gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, and microscopy. The Chemistry and Art course at Ithaca College will be discussed, and two case studies from the collaborative student research projects will be summarized.