JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
When I saw this letter to the editor of Nature (in the May-October 1881, volume 23, page 284) I thought immediately of Jackson Pollock--but of course he wasn't even close top being born yet. The boy from Cody, Wyoming was born in 1912, and he went from a Western no-longer-frontier-town to his greatest period of production in about 37 years. Those three years, from 1948-1950, were like lightning, but slow...like seeing the progression of a lightning strike from the ground up, then replayed again backwards, and then faster. And with many more than just a single strike. That isn't what W.M. Flinders Petrie of Bromley, Kent, was talking about of course--still 25 years and a world removed from non-representational painting--but that is what his title excited in me, here in his future. In any event, the article is an interesting read, Pollockless and all. (Another piece of long and interesting reading is found here, with Richard Taylor's theory on Fractal Expressionism and the fractal dimension of Pollock's painting.)
"Having just seen the statement of Prof. Tait (Nature, vol. xxii. p. 341) quoted, as a final authority, against the possi- bility of distinguishing the source from the termination of a lightning flash, I wish to record a storm that I saw.