surprise me

This website is a means of expressing myself.

Who I am

Hard to say. To be honest, I suspect there is something odd with the verb to be. I ended up thinking that I am what I do — this way of thinking keeps me motivated to do things that make me feel well. Read about my backround in /bio.

The birth of quanta

Sunday 7 October 1900 Rubens together with his wife visited Planck, the discussion turned to the measurements with which Rubens was occupied. Rubens said that for the longest wave-lengths — which he could achieve — the law recently proposed by Lord Rayleigh was valid. On receiving this information from Rubens, Planck set down and studied the theoretical implications for the equilibrium entropy, deriving the radiation formula that carries his name. The text has been adapted from the book The Historical Development of Quantum Theory. Vol. 1. by Mehra and Rechenberg.

The same evening Planck reported the formula to Rubens on a postcard, which the latter received the following morning. One or two day later Rubens went to Planck, and was able to bring him the news that the new formula agreed perfectly with his observations. Plank published his formula on paper Über eine Verbesserung der Wienschen Spektralgleichung the next 19 October.

Reproduction of figure 2 on paper Über die Emission langwelliger Wärmestrahlen durch den schwarzen Körper bei verschiedenen Temperaturen by H. Rubens and F. Kurlbaum, published in Sitzungsberichte der Königlich Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin on 25 October 1900 (english translation provided by the Astrophysical Journal). Note that Planck proposed his formula on 19 October 1900. Rubens and Kurlbaum discussed (and praised) Planck's formula in their paper, but they added it to the figures only in a successive paper on 1901. Worth to mention thar the curves in figure are a linear transformation of the energy: a · E(λ, T) + b.

A pressing nightmare in front of me

I spend delightful hours reading about philosophy and physics. I am fascinated by how scientific knowledge evolves. This interest pushes me along a path in the landscape of the history of physics and epistemology. Why all of this? I think because I have the same nightmare that Ludwig Boltzmann had.

I always feel a pressing nightmare that it is a puzzle that I am alive at all. Likewise the existence of the world is a puzzle, and that the world is exactly as it is. A science which could resolve these puzzles would become a genuine queen and its name would be philosophy.

—Ludwig Eduard Boltzmann

This quote comes from the Boltzmann's Philosophy Notes for Three Lectures (Fall 1903), published in Vol. 119, No. 1/2, Ludwig Boltzmann "Troubled Genius as Philosopher" (1999).

I encourage you to see how Boltzmann continues the lecture, his thoughts go toward the clarification of the question meaning.

Gaussian Curvature

An excursion through discrete differential geometry.

Recently I worked on the implementation of two-dimensional surfaces embedded in a 3D space. With the occasion, I wanted to explore the concept of intrinsic curvature, as studied by Gauss first and Riemann later. To calculate the Gaussian curvature in the vertex shader I used the definition given by Meyer et al. in Discrete Differential-Geometry Operators for Triangulated 2-Manifolds. Have a look at the code implementation in Observable.

Umbilic Torus, implemented with regl and glsl code in Observable. Red and blue colours describe negative and positive curvature values respectively. Intermediate colours, such as violet, describe curvature near zero.

Generative Art

Generative art forces me to create something deliberately useless — which is quite ambitious for me. I live art as an act of research… maybe of elegance, or surprise, or happiness. I particularly like meaningless art: it does not convey any message, it is just a way to look inside myself. Have a look at the generative artworks at page /projects.

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Find more generative artworks in /projects.

Be Open

I evaluate at most the possibility to do something useful for others, and I take some actions in that direction. I create open-source software and I have a blog where I write about math, graphics and programming. Please enjoy.

Data Visualisation

Currently, I am into data visualisation at Nextbit. I operate in the R&D activities within private and public institutions, giving support to the visualization of patterns emerging from complex phenomena and to the creation of expressive graphic representations of big datasets.Find a selection of dataviz projects I worked on in /data-visualisation.

Iconic representations of data quality: each element describes the information completeness of the associated entity. Read more in /data-visualisation.

Get in touch

Please contact me at riccardo@riccardoscalco.it.