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Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland 20771


Monday, February 12, 2018 / 3:30 PM, Building 3 Auditorium

Photo of Jamie Martin

James Martin

"What Could NASA and Sotheby's Auction House Possibly Have in Common?"

ABSTRACT -- Apart from a recent auction of space exploration artifacts, what could NASA and Sotheby's auction house possibly have in common? A lot, it turns out! From characterizing dust and trace contaminants, to mapping elemental distribution and modifying instruments for remote or non-destructive analyses, scientists at NASA and Sotheby's routinely investigate the identity of materials and degradation of objects. James Martin, Director of Sotheby's ground-breaking Department of Scientific Research, will show how materials analysts use technology and instrumental analysis to characterize materials found in art and objects used in space exploration.

SPEAKER -- Over four decades, James Martin has developed a unique combination of skills as as a scientist, professor, art conservator, and artist. He founded and operated Orion, a micro-niche materials analysis and consulting firm established in 2000 to investigate art, cultural property, and collectibles spanning more than 4,000 years – from ancient Egyptian artifacts to paintings and sculpture, architectural finishes, Bordeaux wines, and more. James holds an international reputation for integrity and reliability. He has taught at The Getty Conservation Institute, The Smithsonian's Museum Conservation Institute, and the FBI's Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research Unit. and now holds academic appointments at New York University and Williams College. Clients on five continents, including leading museums, have relied on James to elucidate the structure and composition of materials, resolve questions about attribution and authenticity, provide leads and testimony in civil and criminal proceedings, help build and preserve assets and. James has conducted art fraud investigations for the FBI for twenty years, and played a central role in the most significant forgery investigations of recent times.

In addition to operating Orion, James is a sought-after speaker and instructor, able to explain science and impart practical knowledge to art conservators, appraisers, attorneys, collectors, and law enforcement agents. James is able to synthesize complex bodies of information, observations, and data to solve specific problems – accurately, coherently, and reliably. He will continue his teaching and professional collaborations with museums and conservators, as part of his work at Sotheby's.

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Engineering Colloquium home page: https://ecolloq.gsfc.nasa.gov