Perhaps because old-timey paintings can be naught but artistic lies, it's tough knowing exactly what a notable person from history actually looks like.

Oh, unless you've got a record of their actual face. And a piece of modern technology that lets you scan and reproduce it.

A collaboration between Microsoft, the Royal Society of London and a "science journalism project" called Periodic Videos has seen Kinect put to work scanning an intricate 3D model of Newton's "death mask", which is normally not exactly sitting around for the public to see (though you could have caught a glimpse earlier this year).

Now that it's been scanned, though, researchers, students and the generally interested can check it out, while in theory anyone with a 3D printer could even reproduce it.

Then wear it for Halloween.

Microsoft Made A 3D Scan Of Isaac Newton's Deathmask [TPM]