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Monday, October 14, 2019

Google doodle on "phénakistiscope" ~ what !?


When was the last time you saw a Cinema on screen in a theatre ? ~ how much time do you spend daily seeing TV – and how many Serials do you see ? (perspective could change totally depending on gender too !)

I have not heard or read of this instrument that is described to be in the form of a spinning cardboard disc attached vertically to a handle. Arrayed radially around the disc's center is a series of pictures showing sequential phases of the animation. Small rectangular apertures are spaced evenly around the rim of the disc. The user would spin the disc and look through the moving slits at the images reflected in a mirror. The scanning of the slits across the reflected images keeps them from simply blurring together so that the user can see a rapid succession of images that appear to be a single moving picture. When there is the same number of images as slots, the images will animate in a fixed position, but will not drift across the disc. Fewer images than slots and the images will drift in the opposite direction to that of the spinning disc. Confusing !

The phénakisticope was the first widespread animation device that created a fluid illusion of motion. The phenakistiscope is regarded as one of the first forms of moving media entertainment that paved the way for the future motion picture and film industry.

Though some could call them boring, their popularity is never in Q.  Some serials usually run for one season, for 100–1000 episodes of 22 minutes. They are often centered on a family story, with love ties and relationships being in the focus, more of negative characters these days, portraying wrong relationships too. Though not in any order of popularity, some popular TV serials could be :  Vannakolangal, Metti Oli, Anandham, Rail Sneham, Marmadesam, Annamalai, Thangam, Kolangal, Thendral .. …

A soap opera is a radio or television serial dealing especially with domestic situations and frequently characterized by melodrama and sentimentality. The term soap opera originated from radio dramas being sponsored by soap manufacturers.   BBC Radio's The Archers, first broadcast in 1950, is the world's longest-running radio soap opera; the world's longest-running television soap opera is Coronation Street, first broadcast on ITV in 1960.

This is no post on soap-operas but to some extent on soap-bubble. Daily experience shows that soap bubble formation is not feasible with water or with any pure liquid. Actually, the presence of soap, which is composed at a molecular scale of surfactants, is necessary to stabilize the film. Most of the time, surfactants are amphiphilic, which means they are molecules with both a hydrophobic and a hydrophilic part. Thus, they are arranged preferentially at the air/water interface.  Soap films are thin layers of liquid (usually water-based) surrounded by air. For example, if two soap bubbles come into contact, they merge and a thin film is created in between. Thus, foams are composed of a network of films connected by Plateau borders. Films are used as model systems for minimal surfaces, which are widely used in mathematics.

Plateau's laws describe the structure of soap films. These laws were formulated in the 19th century by the Belgian physicist Joseph Plateau from his experimental observations. Many patterns in nature are based on foams obeying these laws ~ and today’s Google doodle on this Joseph Plateau considered in someways to be pioneer of movies.
                             Today’s Doodle celebrates the Belgian physicist Joseph Antoine Ferdinand Plateau, whose research on visual perception inspired him to invent a device he called the phénakistiscope, which led to the birth of cinema by creating the illusion of a moving image. Inspired by the mesmerizing animated discs, the animated Doodle art was made to reflect Plateau’s style, with different imagery and themes in them on different device platforms.

Born in Brussels on this day in 1801, Plateau was the son of an accomplished artist who specialized in painting flowers. After studying law, young Plateau became one of the best-known Belgian scientists of the nineteenth century, remembered for his study of physiological optics, particularly the effect of light and color on the human retina. Plateau’s doctoral dissertation detailed how images form on the retina, noting their exact duration, color, and intensity. Based on these conclusions, he was able to create a stroboscopic device in 1832, fitted with two discs that rotated in opposite directions. One disc was filled with small windows, evenly spaced in a circle, while the other had a series of pictures of a dancer. When both discs turned at exactly the right speed, the images seemed to merge, creating the illusion of a dancer in motion.

Plateau lost his vision later in life, he continued to have a productive career in science even after becoming blind, working as a professor of experimental physics at Ghent University with the help of colleagues that included his son Felix Plateau and his son-in-law Gustaaf Van der Mensbrugghe. Google Doodle today celebrates what would have been the 218th  birthday of Belgian physicist Joseph Antoine Ferdinand Plateau.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
14th Oct 2019.

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