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September 21, 1979

Professor of Physics Maurice J. Cotter from Queens College of the City University of New York lectured on “Neutron Activation Analysis of Paintings, Illuminated Manuscripts, and Documents.” Using the medical research reactor at the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island Cotter was involved over a six-year period in the study of some 45 paintings by the American romanticist Ralph Albert Blakelock and related artists. The autoradiographic analysis he developed allowed scholars to understand in much more and in much greater detail the techniques and material used in the works.

Cotter and his colleague Charles H. Olin reported this work in A Study of the Materials and Techniques Used By Some XIX Century Oil Painters (1972). He was subsequently part of a team that used the Brookhaven facility to study works from the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Rembrandt, Van Dyck and Vermeer.

The Years