The reason to go to campus on Saturday was Mathematics and Design workshop, organized by Susan Ashdown and Van Dyk Lewis and led by Bill Thurston.
First we had a little glimpse "behind the scenes" of Paris fashion where geometry was taken on catwalk. We had a chance to see some pictures from the show and the reception in Dai Fujiwara's studio. Bill Thurston was wearing the famous jacket designed for him by Fujiwara. The jacket was noted by all journalists when they reported about the Paris fashion show. Susan Ashdown pointed out an interesting detail about orange peels - Bill Thurston often in his classes uses orange peels or cuts the edge of a leaf in order to better explain a concept of surface curvature for those who learn about it for the first time.
"Mathematics is all around us, and we are using some mathematically complicated things not noticing it. When we are putting on T-shirt, we are not thinking how difficult it could be to describe this action mathematically, we just take it for granted. Mathematics is to stimulate your imagination. Unfortunately it is missing in most of math classes." Susan Ashdown sadly intercepted: "Sometimes it is missing from design classes too."
Bill Thurston passed out templates to cut and explained how to assemble tools to measure curvature. He said that he was excited finding connections between design ideas and mathematics, and finding that concepts are not really so far apart as people might think:
"I had a lot of fun thinking about these designs and playing with different forms." I have to admit that we all had fun too in this workshop and hopefully students will come up with some new unexpected design ideas.
Then it was time for hands-on part - each group had to figure out how to fit geometric forms (which were made movable) on a body. This was really figuring out about different curvatures - where it is flat, where positive, where negative, how to measure it.