How Atom Bombs Can Uncover Forged Art

Art forgeries are works of art themselves? How can inspectors tell real art from fake? A video from the a large science playlist explores the techniques practiced by expert forgers and the subtle science behind telling a masterpiece from a forgery.

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CCSS: Adaptable
NGSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Include the video in a nuclear chemistry unit
  • Learn more about Han Van Meegeren, master forger, with a short documentary
Classroom Considerations

  • No art skills? No problem! Viewing requires no prior knowledge

  • The resource provides clear explanations of the techniques forgers use and those used by the scientists that catch them
  • Diagrams explain radioactive isotopes and carbon dating concisely for younger learners

  • None
Common Core