lightpainted equations, take 2

In November, I had this crazy idea of going out into the Helsinki night and paint equations everywhere. I grabbed a flashlight, my tripod and camera, and started working. The end result was better than I had hoped, but there are always improvements to be made!

To get a good excuse to go enjoy the cold Helsinki nights, I asked people here on the blog to suggest their favourite short-ish equations for me to do next time. That time has finally come! I’m sorry you had to wait for so long.

I spent most of Tuesday evening on small islands right outside the city. This time of the year, the water is frozen, making the islands reachable by foot. Still, I was the only person out there – I guess late evening strolls aren’t that popular with the general public.

This time, I also tried something new – light graffiti. Instead of just writing in the air, I pointed my flashlight at a surface and wrote straight onto it. The advantage is that it’s much easier to write (no need to write backwards!) and I also have more control over where the text ends up. I might have to do more of that…

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these! I’ve also started a tumblr blog just for my equations – go check it out, and feel free to suggest equations here or on twitter!

NEWS FLASH: I just got a letter in the mail saying that I got money to organize a photo exhibition! It’s the first such grant I’ve ever applied for, so I’m very happy I got it! Now, time to start preparing… 🙂


This one is for Sedeer, who suggested that I’d do the Lotka-Volterra equations. The equation describes the dynamics of a two-species system, mainly predator and prey. Here, I painted the equation straight onto the boat – a technique I like calling “light graffiti”.


This one’s for Rose! I fought with it for quite a while – I had a new flashlight and seemed to have problems writing 10 (which one would think would be quite easy, actually…). The camera battery also decided to die a couple of times – fortunately, I brought 3 of them.


Another one for Sedeer! This is Newton’s law of universal gravitation, which states that every object attracts every other object with a force directed along the line of centres for the two objects that is proportional to the product of their masses, and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them (phew!).


This is for Pip – the circumference of a circle, the ice-covered Baltic sea and the moon behind clouds.

6 thoughts on “lightpainted equations, take 2

  1. Pingback: the best of 2013 – in photos | alternative viewpoints

  2. Pingback: lightpainted equations | alternative viewpoints

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