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Maker(s):Abbott, Berenice
Culture:American (1898-1991)
Title:The Science Pictures: Path of a Moving Ball
Date Made:1982
Materials:Gelatin silver print
Measurements:Mat: 24 in x 30 in; 61 cm x 76.2 cm; Sheet: 4 5/16 in x 19 5/16 in; 11 cm x 49.1 cm
Narrative Inscription:  INSCRIPTION: recto, lwr. l. (pencil): 31/60; SIGNATURE: recto, lwr. r. (pencil): Berenice Abbott; INSCRIPTION: verso, ctr. (stamp, black ink): BERENICE ABBOTT / THE SCIENCE PICTURES; PARASOL PRESS LTD.1982 / ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Accession Number:  MH 1983.21.8
Credit Line:Gift of Joseph R. and Ruth Lasser (Ruth H. Pollak, Class of 1947)
Museum Collection:  Mount Holyoke College Art Museum

Multiple exposures showing a model train and a small ball moving across the picture plane.

Label Text:
It’s all a matter of perspective. Imagine yourself throwing a ball directly upwards while standing on the smoke-stack of a moving train. You would see the ball moving up and down and right back into your hands. But a person observing this from the hillside would see the ball tracing an elegant arc. Which observation describes the true motion of the ball—your observation or that of the bystander? Both descriptions are correct, as the ball can be described from two different frames of reference. Berenice Abbott playfully evokes both viewpoints in this manipulated photograph, illustrating the foundation of special relativity.

-Gillian Hagen ’20 and Sue Shi ’19, Society of Physics Students, Mount Holyoke College (Oct. 2017)

science; patterns; paths; movement; trains

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