Throwing Physics and Math(s) at the Mona Lisa

This week’s Feedback column (that I write) in New Scientist magazine has two segments. Here’s how they begin:

  1. Physics vs Mona Lisa — The wood and smile of the Mona Lisa fascinate scientists. Not wooden smile. Wood and smile. A new study in the Journal of Cultural Heritage reveals how researchers have spent 18 years exploring the wooden panel on which Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa.….
  2. Maths vs Mona Lisa — Some scientists feel that maths, not physics, is the heaviest of assault weapons. They deploy it when handed some problem that has defied solution and maybe made people cry. The Mona Lisa brings many such problems. Alessia Amelio at the University of Calabria, Italy, went on a mental adventure ride, collecting some of the mathematical methods that people have taken to war against the Mona Lisa‘s mystery….