Thursday, April 26, 2018

Gathering4Gardner13 - in Atlanta, April 11-15, 2018

It was know well ahead of time that when Gathering4Gardner will become a teenager, one of the guest will be Ernő Rubik - the creator of one of the best loved toys of all times  -the Rubik's cube.

My travel from New York to Atlanta started with Gardner's type puzzle at Howard Beach station - will there be a train to JFK? The answer, of course, is yes, since I made to Atlanta for the third time to be a participant at the most fun conference which for the first time was fully sold out event.

The number of participants is limited but the capacity of this ballroom. I remember that at my first Gatheringn4Gardner in 2006 this ballroom was sometimes divided and talks were given in parallel sessions. This arrangement gave an opportunity for talks to be longer but at the same time it was unfortunate to miss some talks. Now, except some special presentations, talks had strict 6 min time limit and everybody could listen to all talks.

First day I was at the table which can be called hyperbolic. 
Chaim Goodman-Strauss had brought with him annuli for creating hyperbolic plane planned for outdoor activity day in Decatur (see next blog post) and tried to work out the best strategy how it will work.
The author with his hat
Stephen Wolfram during coffee break
Thomas Banchoff started his talk saying - I turned 80, now I can do what I want. Is that what is puzzling him here?
Kokichi Sugihara's impossible objects were great conversation pieces
G4G is a great palce to meet old friends and to make new ones. Here I am with Alex Bellos who as a young beginning journalist interviewed me ten years ago in London for The Times. Now he is well known author of several bestselling books. And I was happy for the first time to meet an artist Debora Coombs who knew about my work but I did not know about hers.
It was very nice to see that there many young people, even children attending G4G13. For teenagers the absolute star was James Grime - most widely known for his You Tube channel Numberphile.

This was the first G4G where one the speakers was Fields medalist - Manjul Bhargava gave a talk not only at the conference but also a public lecture Sunday afternoon. Two other public lectures were given by Doris Schattschneider.
I missed John Conway whom I met into two previous G4G I attended and who gave so much appreciate view of my book's first edition. Because of unfortunate fall he was not able to travel but he sent cheerful video greetings to the conference. I hope he will like my book's 2nd edition also.
It was a wonderful experience to meet mathematician Richard Guy who is 101 and still working!
At G4G we had also a spectacular entertainment - just look at the curtain call of all these performers: Jim Gardner, Professor Conundrum, Magician Carlos Vinuesa, circus performer Roxana Küwen, Quick Change duo Olga and Vladimir Smirnov , Cubists Lucas & Sydney Weaver, Magicians Mamma Menna & Max Maven, Scott Kim, Henry Segerman, Tiago Hirth, Mark Mitton was emcee.
Sunday morning was very busy. I managed only to take a picture of Susan Goldstine who was giving a talk about knitting wallpaper groups. Her knitting is really amazing!

Saturday morning I was the first visitor in exhibit room and got a private demonstration that gravity is optional by Robert Clemenzi.
Previously I had admired patterns on Tamari balls by Carolyn Yackel but this was something new - one of 13 Catalan solids beautifully crafted.
Wayne Daniels Five Cube puzzle.
Many ways to use ZOOM tool.
Richard Esterle had some new puzzles.
Elegant spidrons by Daniel Erdely
Beautiful patterns by Margaret Kepner
And my favorites - fascinating display of  ambiguous objects (how he calls them) by Kokichi Sugihara. He has become world renowned for his mind boggling illusions, several times he has won Best Illusion of the Year, I have seen videos of his illusions, but nothing compares to feeling when you are alone with this arrow and turn it with your own fingers! 

Robert Crease was much faster then me writing about G4G13.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Mathematical look at art in Seattle I

This spring I visited Seattle for the first time. I got there just in time to see exhibit ART ∩ MATH (Art intersects Math) at  Center on Contemporary Art in Pioneer Square which run from March 1-April 14, 2018. I wrote about this exhibit and posted some pictures here. Before getting there I misread the name of the gallery as Center of Contemporary Art and an image of this center to be something big. Instead it is just one gallery space for exhibits, but this gallery already for 35 years has an important mission - "CoCA serves the Pacific Northwest as a catalyst and forum for the advancement, development, and understanding of Contemporary Art. " The exhibit showcased artistic works of mathematicians Jayadev Athreya, Katherine Cook, Erik Demaine and Martin Demaine, Edmund Harriss, and Hamid Naderi Yeganeh and visual artists who use mathematical principles in their practices: Rachel Holloway, Claire B. Jones, George Legrady, Jean Mandeberg, Savina Mason, Suchitra Mattai, June Sekiguchi, Timea Tihanyi/Slip Rabbit, Lun-Yi Tsai, Amber Barney-Nivon, and Ilana Zweschi. While the names of mathematicians were familiar, I did not know visual artists making this exhibit even more interesting for me. I met Nichole DeMent, executive director of CoCA who was eager to hear my opinion about the current exhibit which shows creative combination of math and art. I really liked this exhibit, and was lucky to see it on my own in the morning, and then later full of viewers in the evening. I missed the dance performance which was one of the events in connection with the exhibit. When I returned in the evening to the gallery it was full with people. It was first Thursday Art Walk night. I was happy that Nichole DeMent suggested me to come back that night because the whole exhibit had become alive. Artworks displayed created discussions, they were teaching about math and about creativity.

Claire B. Jones Triportal
In the exhibit Claire B. Jones two works were the first I wanted to see because they were explorations of curvature, the same theme I have done so many times. Jones creates her fiber sculptures using machine stitch.

I am used seeing paintings analysed whether a painter had used one, two, or even three point perspective. But to think that it can be done with vintage needlepoint design? Suchitra Mattai did.
Eric Demain and Martin Demain Assymetry
Edmund Harriss Gradient Fields
I had a chance to talk also with curators of the exhibit, and they told me that exhibit from Seattle will travel to Everett, WA, where there will be more space and thus possibility to invite more artists to participate. I received a kind invitations to be one of the artists joining this beautiful exhibit in Everett. Unfortunately, I had to decline because from Seattle I was travelling to Atlanta, without coming to Ithaca to get my works. Hopefully some other time...

In the meantime I am happy to announce that during my visit in Seattle second edition of my book got published and now is available on CRC Press site