Dr. Gregory Smith will speak about his use of science to unravel mysteries surrounding the artworks at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields. Using a range of spectroscopic, chromatographic, and imaging techniques, his team employs the tools of chemistry to discover lost paintings, explore the material history of objects, and detect forgeries. The lecture will explore the various roles that chemists can play in a fine arts museum, culminating in recent research repurposing the world's oldest manmade pigment - Egyptian blue first synthesized in 3200 BCE - as a luminescent fingerprint dusting powder to catch modern-day criminals.
Dr. Smith received a B.S. degree from Centre College of Kentucky in anthropology/sociology and chemistry before pursuing graduate studies at Duke University in time-domain vibrational spectroscopy and archaeological fieldwork. His postgraduate training included investigations of pigment degradation processes and palette studies of illuminated manuscripts at the British Library and the V & A Museum, development of synchrotron infrared microscopy facilities at the National Synchrotron Light Source at Brookhaven, and researching cleaning issues related to artists' acrylic emulsion paints at the National Gallery of Art. In 2004, Dr. Smith joined the faculty of the conservation training program at Buffalo State College as the Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor of Conservation Science. In 2010 Dr. Smith was hired as the senior conservation scientist at the Indianapolis Museum of Art where he has constructed a state-of-the-art research facility to study and preserve the museum's encyclopedic collection of nearly 56,000 works of art.
Published on February 06, 2018