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How Muybridge Changed Science Through Art: A Fascinating Vintage Short Film by the U.S. Department of Defense

What galloping horses have to do with nuclear reactors and supersonic missiles.

Pioneering photographer Eadweard Muybridge (April 9, 1830–May 8, 1904) conducted some of the earliest experiments in chronophotography. His locomotion studies shaped early animation. In 1965, more than half a century after Muybridge’s death, the U.S. Department of Defense commissioned It Started with Muybridge — a fascinating short documentary, currently in the public domain, tracing how Muybridge’s motion studies contributed to the science and technology of the Atomic Age, from testing the safety limits of nuclear reactors to measuring the speed of supersonic missiles.

Towards the beginning of the film is also a fine addition to this omnibus of famous definitions of science:

Discovery begins with observation. The scientist studies forms, movement, patterns — the commonplace with the unusual.

For some ownable Muybridge, see Eadweard Muybridge: The Human and Animal Locomotion Photographs.

Published April 11, 2012




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