Category: art

  • Designer Maths

    This fall, I’ll be teaching ‘Mathematics for Designers’ to first year students in Architecture. The past few weeks I’ve been looking around for topics to be included in such as course, relevant to architects/artists (not necessarily to engineers/mathematicians). One of the best texts I’ve found on this (perhaps in need of a slight update) is […]

  • Escher’s stairs

    Stairways feature prominently in several drawings by Maurits Cornelis (“Mauk”) Escher, for example in this lithograph print Relativity from 1953. Relativity (M. C. Escher) – Photo Credit From its Wikipedia page: In the world of ‘Relativity’, there are three sources of gravity, each being orthogonal to the two others. Each inhabitant lives in one of…

  • Lockdown reading : Bacon

    In this series I’ll mention some books I found entertaining, stimulating or comforting during these Corona times. Read them at your own risk. In an attempt to raise the level of this series, I tried to get through the latest hype in high-brow literature: The Death of Francis Bacon by Max Porter. It’s an extremely…

  • the mathematician of cubism

    “Pythagorean Crimes” by Tefcros Michaelides is a murder mystery set at the beginning of the 20th century. It starts with Hilbert’s address at the 1900 ICM in Paris (in which he gives his list of problems, such as the 2nd, his program for a finitistic proof of the consistency of the axioms of arithmetic) and…

  • Grothendieck, at the theatre

    A few days ago, the theatre production “Rêves et Motifs” (Dreams and Motives) was put on stage in Argenteuil by la Compagnie Les Rémouleurs. The stage director Anne Bitran only discovered Grothendieck’s life by reading the front pages of French newspapers, the day after Grothendieck passed away, in November 2014. « Rêves et Motifs »…

  • Coxeter on Escher’s Circle Limits

    Conway’s orbifold notation gives a uniform notation for all discrete groups of isometries of the sphere, the Euclidian plane as well as the hyperbolic plane. This includes the groups of symmetries of Escher’s Circle Limit drawings. Here’s Circle Limit III And ‘Angels and Devils’ aka Circle Limit IV: If one crawls along a mirror of…

  • Penrose tiles in Helsinki

    (image credit: Steve’s travels & stuff) A central street in Helsinki has been paved with Penrose tiles. (image credit: Sattuman soittoa) From a Finnish paper: “The street could also be an object to mathematical awe. The stone under one’s feet is embroidered with some profound geometry, namely, Penrose tiling. In 1974, a British mathematician Roger…

  • the monstrous moonshine picture – 1

    We’re slowly closing in on the elusive moonshine picture, which is the subgraph of Conway’s Big Picture needed to describe all 171 moonshine groups. About nine years ago I had a first go at it, drawing a tiny fraction of it, just enough to understand the 9 moonshine groups appearing in Duncan’s realization of McKay’s…