AGAM: Day 2

The second day of class for All Girls All Math (AGAM) is over. I’m enjoying teaching the girls something about math and having an opportunity to learn some more about cryptography myself. A few finds:


All Girls All Math: Day 1

This week I am teaching at All Girls All Math in Lincoln, Nebraska. I’ll be sharing here some activities that the girls will be working on. Today, we’ll be talking about some cryptographic systems and then learning modular arithmetic.

Noon rings out. A wasp, making an ominous sound, a sound akin to a klaxon or a tocsin, flits about. Augustus, who has had a bad night, sits up blinking and purblind. Oh what was that word (is his thought) that ran through my brain all night, that idiotic word that, hard as I’d try to pun it down, was always just an inch or two out of my grasp – fowl or foul or Vow or Voyal? – a word which, by association, brought into play an incongruous mass and magma of nouns, idioms, slogans and sayings, a confusing, amorphous outpouring which I sought in vain to control or turn off but which wound around my mind a whirlwind of a cord, a whiplash of a cord, a cord that would split again and again, would knit again and again, of words without communication or any possibility of combination, words without pronunciation, signification or transcription but out of which, notwithstanding, was brought forth a flux, a continuous, compact and lucid flow: an intuition, a vacillating frisson of illumination as if caught in a flash of lightning or in a mist abruptly rising to unshroud an obvious sign – but a sign, alas, that would last an instant only to vanish for good.

  • If you’ve had enough wordplay, you might be interested in the number bracelets game, which is another way to introduce modular arithmetic.

From Points to Paints

On July 6th, I gave a talk in the Math Encounters series for the Museum of Mathematics. If you were at the talk, welcome! Whether or not you were there, you can find information below relating to the talk, to mathematical models, and to modern art. If you want to watch the Prezi from the 6th, here it is.

Mathematical Models

For more information about mathematical models, you can start with the paper Mathematical Models and Modern Art: Bridges 2010. You can also see the website that I maintain about mathematical models, which includes a report I wrote on the models in the MIT collection .

If you would like to see some models yourself, take a look at the list of collections that I have found (and if you know of a collection not on this list, please let me know). Several of the collections have online catalogs so that you can see some models, even if you can’t travel to them.

It is also increasingly possible to find old catalogs of models digitized, for instance:

Recently, the blog hyperbolic crochet had a post about mathematical models at the Poincare Institute in Paris.

Artists and Art

You can find a copy of a portion of Naum Gabo and Antoine Pevsner’s Realistic Manifesto here (and included is audio of Gabo reading the full text).

Apparently Marcel Duchamp was into anaglyphs, and read Vuibert’s book on creating geometric anaglyphs, which can be found here. Anaglyphs provide another method of visualizing 3-dimensional mathematics (and one not as expensive or cumbersome as physical models, although missing their physicality as well). And speaking of Duchamp, there was a symposium at Harvard about connections between Duchamp and Poincaré back in 1999 and interesting information from the conference can still be found through this link.

Hiroshi Sugimoto did a series of photographs of mathematical models at the University of Tokyo. Some of these were printed in New York Times Magazine and can still be found online. There is also more information about these Sugimoto works here.

Let me know if there is anything more you want to know about these wonderful models or their encounter with the world of art (or mathematics and art in general)!