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Bulent Atalay

of Author, National Geographic Books; author, Smithsonian Books; Professor. UMW and UVA.

www.bulentatalay.com

Bulent Atalay, a scientist, artist and author, has been described by NPR, PBS and the Washington Post as a “Modern Renaissance Man.” He is the author of two successful books on the intersection of art, science and mathematics, with Leonardo, the pre-eminent Renaissance man, serving as the foil. His best selling book, "Math and the Mona Lisa," (Smithsonian Books, 2004) has appeared in 13 languages. Professor Atalay's academic background is in theoretical physics. He travels around the world lecturing at academic institutions and on cruise ships on the "A-subjects," art, archaeology, astrophysics, atomic physics and Ataturk, confessing that he knows much less about the "B-subjects," business, banking, biology and botany...

He is the President of the Ataturk Society of America (ASA), dedicated to promoting Ataturk's ideals of science and reason over dogma and superstition, of a secular state with full equality of genders. For more details click on Bulent Atalay

NASA PART I. “THE PASSING OF AN ERA: THE RETIREMENT OF THE SPACE SHUTTLE”

NOTE: I am interrupting a series of blogs that I’ve been writing about Einstein, in order to write a few on NASA, on the occasion of the retirement of the Space Shuttle Program. Ten days apart NASA treated us to a pair of spectacular aerial shows, first over the monuments of Washington, DC, and then…

EINSTEIN Part II: A Bundle of Contradictions

  Albert Einstein, whose name has become synonymous with “genius,” was a complex man, a virtual bundle of contradictions. The ultimate intellectual rebel, he demonstrated a level of intuition and imagination beyond any mathematical scientist since Isaac Newton. He was a very good mathematician, but not a mathematical genius in the mode of Newton, who…

EINSTEIN Part I: The Pi in ‘π-day’

  Among physics students, March 14 is known as “π-Day” (“Pi-Day”) the day that Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany in 1879. The venerable physicist is known for changing the very paradigm of physics, rejecting the three “fundamental undefinables” of length, mass and time as invariant, and positing in their place the speed of…

Patterns in Creativity: Leonardo and Newton – Corcoran Gallery of Art

To former students and other friends in the Washington, DC area. I would love to see you at the lecture, Patterns in Creativity: Leonardo and Newton – Corcoran Gallery of Art. on December 7 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. These two transformative geniuses share many traits, and differ in many others. I plan to…

The Passing of a Scientific Giant: Norman F. Ramsey (1915-2011)

On November 4, 2011, Norman F. Ramsey, one of the titans of 20th century science, passed away in Wayland, Massachusetts. His life and career had spanned almost a century. The technologies that sprung from his work touch the lives of billions living today. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), a mainstay of medical diagnostics technology, and the Atomic…

A Tribute to Steve Jobs

August 10, 2011. The Crystal Serenity, the cruise ship on which I was serving as a lecturer, was anchored in the French Riviera, off the coast of Cannes. Late at night I wandered into the computer lab where a roomful of 27″ iIMacs (68 cm) were fast asleep, their screen savers creating an eye catching…

A Decade After 9/11

9/11 Boat Rescue The photograph shows a mangled piece of the original antenna crowning one of the 110 story buildings. The relic is on permanent display at the Newseum in Washington, DC. (Photo by the author.) This is a sad day in the United States, as well as in the rest of the civilized world.…

A Brief History of the Astronomical Telescope IV: Did Leonardo Invent the Telescope 100 Years Before Galileo?

  Unbeknownst to me in the 2005 PICMET talk, André Buys was in the audience. A professor at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, Buys was a nuclear engineer, and an avid amateur telescope maker. In the following two years Dr. Buys delved deeply into Leonardo’s surviving codices, and even built a replica of…

A Brief History of the Astronomical Telescope III: Newton and his Reflecting Telescope

  “Nature and Nature’s Laws lay hid in night. God said, ‘Let Newton Be!’ And all was light.” .                                                   — Alexander Pope.   Galileo died in 1642 after a turbulent…

Brief History of the Astronomical Telescope II: Lenses and Mirrors

Transparent materials, including glass, diamonds or even water, will bend, or refract, rays of light. If a globule of the transparent material possesses axial symmetry, then it can focus the light, or act as “a lens” (a word inspired by the Latin word for a grain of lentil, evocative of the shape of the double…

Brief History of the Astronomical Telescope I: Galileo Galilei and the unlikely fate of his middle finger…

Just as 2005, commemorating the Centennial of Einstein’s Annus Mirabilus (“Miracle Year”) was celebrated as the “Year of Physics,” 2009 commemorating the 400th Anniversary of the invention of the astronomical telescope was celebrated as the “Year of Astronomy.” It is generally known that the German-Dutch lens maker Hans Lipperchey had received the first patent for…

Remembering Gallipoli II: Resurrecting Ismail Hakki

On June 23, 2006 I had been serving as a lecturer on board the cruise ship, Crystal Serenity, when the ship docked for the day in Thessalonica (the old Ottoman Turkish city of “Selanik”). With close friends from the ship, I drove to Virgina, to see the tumulus of Phillip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the…

Remembering Gallipoli I: ANZAC Day 2011

Sailing north through the Dardanelles, the straits that separate the Asian side of Turkey from the European, the land is pockmarked with numberless trenches. It is here that hundreds of thousands of troops — Turkish and Allied — faced each other in 1915. The preponderant numbers on the Allied side comprised the Australian and New Zealand troops, mobilized into the “Australian and New Zealand Army Corps,” or “ANZAC.” When it was all over, a half million young men, approximately evenly divided between the two sides, had been wounded or killed.