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Turbulence in Van Gogh’s Painting “Starry Night”

Physicist Werner Heisenberg said, “When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first.” Turbulence is the tendency of fluids (and things that behave like fluids) to move chaotically and violently.  As difficult as turbulence is to understand mathematically, art can be used to depict the way it looks. In this Ted-ed video  Natalya St. Clair looks at how Van Gogh captured this deep mystery of movement, fluid and light in his work.

See The Unexpected Math behind Van Gogh’s Starry Night for a complete Ted-ed lesson on this subject including more information and questions to ponder.

Van Gogh "Starry Night"





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