Anamorphic Art

Michael Treco

Even art experts were stumped.

When “The Ambassadors,” a 1533 portrait by Hans Holbein the Younger arrived at London’s National Gallery, it took a few years before anyone knew exactly what they were looking at.  

Michael Treco explains: On the floor in between the two ambassadors in the portrait was something quite unusual. Eventually, the image was revealed to be a skull that became clear when seen at an oblique angle. The portrait then became one of the most famous examples of anamorphic art.  

Turns out, they just needed to be told how to look it.

What is Anamorphic Art?

Anamorphosis is a type of distorted projection that can only be seen either through a certain angle or point or using a special viewing device. It is used in a variety of media, including sculpture, toys, painting, photography, and special effects.

Anamorphic art dates to the Renaissance, in the 1400s. Sometimes, anamorphic art can only be seen in a very specific way, such as through a peephole. Optical anamorphism can be usually seen while viewing something horizontally, catoptric anamorphism is viewed by looking down, while anoptric anamorphism is seen by looking up.

There are different types of anamorphic art, including mirror anamorphosis and perspective anamorphosis. Other forms use distorted lenses or optical transformations. 

Which Artists Used Anamorphic Art?

Many early forms of anamorphosis reflected religious ideas and themes. Leonardo da Vinci regularly used anamorphic techniques to create scientific works. Five hundred years after da Vinci, Salvador Dali used anamorphic techniques extensively in his murals.

Anamorphic art is also used in décor, such as decorating a cup with a message or design that can only be seen using mirrors. 

Following the Renaissance and through the 17th century anamorphic art took on a more fantastical bent and were more scientific curiosities. It fell out of favor as an art form until interest returned through the 19th century. It eventually inspired Surrealists such as Dali. 

The concept is still used in the 21st century, particularly in street art which creates the illusion that there is a hole in the sidewalk or on the road. It’s also used to make buildings look grander or more whimsical than they are, providing an illusion of vast architectural swoops and untraditional shapes.

it is also now used in murals that make buildings or other items appear to have depth. Graffiti artists have displayed their anamorphic art in galleries as well, experimenting with unexpected perspectives and perceptions of reality. 

It also has more practical uses. When you see a movie in a special IMAX theater, you’re seeing extreme anamorphosis at work. When you see writing at a store that can be seen correctly in a mirror, you’re seeing basic anamorphosis.

Michael Treco

A Little Bit of Magic

Anamorphic art was originally scientific and artistic wonders. They were appreciated as scientific curiosities but also as inventive works that took advantage of clever symbolism and portrayed hidden messages. 

Today, people admire the spirit and uniqueness of anamorphic art in the same way, but on a grander scale. In a world of gray buildings and busy concrete streets, anamorphic art brings magic to our everyday lives.


The Future of Computing

The future of computing will continue to be driven by Moore’s Law, which predicts that the number of transistors that can be placed on an integrated circuit will double every two years. This, paired with new engineering and miniaturized transistors will result in ever-increasing levels of performance and functionality.

In this post, Michael Treco will explore how computing is likely to grow and change in the next few decades. This will include a discussion of Moore’s Law and how it has led to an exponential explosion in digital technology.

What Drives the Future of Computing?

For the majority of computing’s 70-odd year lifespan, it has been held back by the number of transistors able to be placed on an integrated circuit. Transistors are semiconductor devices used to amplify or switch electronic signals and electrical power. The more transistors on a circuit, the more computing power it can create.

Over the decades, transistors have become smaller and smaller, allowing computer engineers to develop more powerful devices. This has largely followed Moore’s Law, which states that the number of transistors on a chip doubles every two years. In recent years, though, engineers have struggled to make transistors even smaller, leading to a possible slowdown in computing technologies.

Will Computing Plateau?

Computer engineers have largely realized that silicone transistors cannot be made any smaller. This doesn’t mean that computing will plateau, though. Carbon nanotubes are currently being explored as a possible replacement for silicon in computer chips.

They are much smaller than silicon, so they could theoretically be used to create smaller and faster chips. However, they are also much harder to work with, so it is unclear whether they will be able to replace silicon in the long run. As these technologies continue to advance, it’s likely that other factors will influence the future of computing.

Quantum Computing

The physical dimensions of transistors have always been a limitation because, while it’s possible to build small, limited computers this way, it’s much harder to build larger, more powerful computers. This is where quantum computing comes in.

Quantum computers are able to take advantage of the quirks of quantum mechanics to perform calculations much faster than traditional computers. The key to quantum computing is the qubit which, unlike a classical bit, can exist in multiple states simultaneously. This allows quantum computers to perform multiple calculations at the same time.

While traditional computers store information in binary (either 1 or 0), quantum computers can store information as both a 1 and 0 simultaneously. This allows quantum computers to perform multiple calculations at the same time.

In 2016, Google announced that they had built a quantum computer that could perform a calculation that would take a traditional computer 10,000 years in just 200 seconds. While quantum computers are still in their infancy, they have the potential to revolutionize computing and could be used to solve problems that are far too complex for traditional computers.

Final Thoughts

There is no doubt that the future of computing will be affected by smaller, more advanced transistor technologies and the advent of quantum computing. Although these technologies are still in their infancy, as they become better understood, computers will become far more powerful and advanced.

Converting CO2 Into Fuel: Recent Breakthroughs

Finding an effective way to turn carbon dioxide (CO2) into fuel can help save our planet — and we’re getting close to cracking the code.

Potentially, all we need to do is look up according to Michael Treco. A team led by researchers from Sweden’s Lund University has shown that by using lightning-fast laser spectroscopy and advanced materials, solar power can turn CO2 into fuel.

The work represents a promising way forward to reduce dangerous greenhouse gases and slow climate change.

Covalent organic framework, or COF, is a porous material in the study, published in the journal Nature Communications. COF absorbs sunlight very quickly and that energy is then used in the CO2 conversion, which requires two electrons.

The team found that blue light photons can create long-lasting electrons with extremely elevated levels of energy. The COF was then charged with the electrons.

Researchers hope to further refine the method and hope it can be used on a global scale. Carbon dioxide is the primary component of greenhouse gas emissions, sourced by fossil fuel use, deforestation, and more.

CO2 emissions have increased by 90% since 1970 and pinpointing an easy and quick way to convert CO2 to fuel would significantly address the world’s energy crisis.

Team Uncovers Reason for CO2 Conversion Difficulty

Many attempts at converting CO2 to fuel have been unsuccessful. A research team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has outlined a reason why. The team found that there is CO2 depletion occurring next to electrodes used to create the conversion.

The study notes that A solution may be to let gas build up again by pulsing the current at specific times.

The research may escalate progress in determining the best materials to use in CO2 conversion systems.

Copper Coating and CO2 Conversion

Useful chemicals may be obtained from greenhouse gas by adjusting the surface of catalysts used in conversion reactions.

A study published in Nature Energy and authored by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers used thin films with the ionomers Nafion and Sustainion to coat a copper conversion surface. The surface created a very strong electrical current and it also favored products rich in carbon. The next step: escalating the production of the coated conversion catalyst. 

Making Conversion Catalysts More Efficient

Engineers at Stanford University have long worked on ways to turn carbon dioxide emissions to other chemicals, including butane and propane. Now they’ve developed a new catalyst that can produce 1,000 times the amount of fuel previously obtained in the process.

The catalyst amps up the creation of long-chain hydrocarbons within chemical reactions. The energy-intensive catalyst is made from ruthenium, a rare metallic element, that is then coated by a plastic layer.

As an extra bonus, ruthenium is cheaper to use than the platinum and palladium found in other catalysts.

The team worked for seven years to produce the new catalyst and is also working on additional catalysts to turn CO2 into industrial chemicals, including ethanol, that will not return carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

Michael Treco Provides an Overview of STEM Education

When school districts choose their curriculum, their primary concern is whether the subjects being taught are preparing the next generation for success in their future careers. As our world continues to change thanks to technological innovations and scientific breakthroughs, it is now more important than ever to reconsider the effectiveness of our education systems and how best to prepare our students for a modern workplace. Michael Treco, a volunteer member of Columbia University Alumni Council: Young Alumni & Engagement Committee as well as an SCA (Student Conservation Association) Community Ambassador, recognizes the need for reform in our educational curriculum and hopes to educate readers within this blog on a new educational model, STEM.

What is STEM?

STEM is an acronym that stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Michael Treco states that schools or school districts typically use the term to communicate their focus on these academic disciplines. The STEM curriculum has often been linked to a push for workforce development, immigration policy, and the evolution of technology in the workforce. Science typically taught in stem focuses on two of the three major branches of science, natural sciences, and formal sciences. Natural sciences often include biology, chemistry, and physics, while formal sciences refer to logic and statistics. 

Why STEM Matters for the Next Generation

Today, STEM education is becoming a necessity for our future economy. Industry leaders believe that employment in STEM occupations will grow by 8.8% by 2028, compared to non-STEM occupations which are expected to grow by only 5%. Additionally, STEM jobs provide a greater average wage than many other fields, with the United States Department of Labor reported the average salary of STEM workers at $86,980.

Some of the careers that are associated with STEM include:

–        Aerospace Engineer

–        Archaeologist

–        Architect

–        Biochemists

–        Computer Engineers

–        Environmental Scientist

–        Geneticist

–        Historians

–        Mathematicians

–        Molecular Biologists

–        Nuclear Engineers

–        Solar Energy Systems Engineers

–        Statistician

Benefits of Teaching STEM

In addition to preparing students for a growing STEM-focused job market, STEM education has been widely praised for its ability to reduce the significant divide in the ethnic and gender gaps of science, math, and tech fields. For many years, white men have dominated STEM fields, with many women and people of color making a fraction of the salary of their white male counterparts. However, STEM education has been shown to break traditional gender roles and supply students of various backgrounds with a solid foundation in STEM subjects, increasing the chances of these students pursuing a career in a STEM field.