How will this affect my work? Well, previously I lived off of speaking fees, ad money, and donations. Now I get to spend less time in airports and more time making videos, plus videos are now ad-free! I also have more resources and am surrounded by awesome people doing awesome things, so basically this is good for everyone.
Tuesday, January 03, 2012 at 05:01PM EST
Doodling in Math: Spirals, Fibonacci, and Being a Plant [1 of 3]
Thursday, December 22, 2011 at 12:27AM EST
Yesterday was my last day as Mathemusician-in-Residence in Pfoho. I had to catch an afternoon bus, which meant I had the entire morning to try and figure out how to make something with these awesome plastic swords I got at the dollar store. Together, we came up with this:
With 45 more swords, this pattern could be extended into a full icosadodecahedron-type shape, where the sword blades make the triangles and the handles make the pentagons. With rigid swords, the shape would even hold itself together with no wire or glue. As it is, it makes a very nice hat:
And then it was time to go. I had a wonderful time, met many wonderful people, and had a big wonderful space to play in. Here's what it looked like as of yesterday morning:
I want to emphasize the improvisatory and collaborative nature of the week. Most of the time, I had some sort of vague plan/inspiration, and it was really through the help and input of other people that things ended up being awesome.
I'd say "Hey, I got these things. Let's try connecting them like this and see what happens. Then maybe we can hang it somewhere or something." We'd try it out, see what potential problems were, and do some bugfixing. The result was an amazing week and a big room full of fun stuff.
I'm interested in finding a longer residency of this sort. And looking forward to hopefully returning to Pfoho next year!
Yesterday I found some more laundry baskets, and we tried making something bigger. Here it is!
It's made of 32 baskets arranged like the faces of a truncated icosahedron (that's the shape of a soccer ball). The 20 "hexagons" are in shades of blue and green in a 5-color pattern. The 12 red baskets are like the black pentagons on a standard soccer ball. It's a little imposing to sit under. Here's how the dining hall looks, as of last night:
Yesterday I did this crazy workshop called "Playing Math" where I set up ten big tables with a pile of things on each, and after a very brief talk I had people get started playing. For example, one table had pirate coloring books and another had stove liners.
There were clothes hangers, dolls, clipboards, and protractors.
Here's some vertically-oriented photos.
There were also sponges, plastic containers, crayons, and wooden spoons.
The people at the crayon table were extra diligent, staying longer to figure out how to make a crayon-tip polyhedron and how to use the wrappers to fold intersecting tetrahedra.
Inspired by the three-fold symmetry clothes-hanger arrangement someone had made, I later grabbed some help and made this:
Saturday, February 19, 2011 at 06:14PM EST
Really cool stuff happened yesterday. In the afternoon, I met with the research group of my friend Erez Lieberman Aiden, and we made a truncated icosahedron out of balloons. He also took this fantastic photo:
Then it was umbrella time! I made the residents start unpacking the umbrellas, and went to get some materials. I know that my mathemusician-in-residenceship has had some effect, because when I got back, this is what greeted me:
Awesome. Then we got started on connecting the umbrellas into a hyperbolic plane. Between us all, we figured out a good way to build and display it. Then something magical happened. Some students had the idea of writing poetry on the umbrellas, so we got out some white-board markers and turned the hyperbolic umbrella surface into a big collaborative writing/drawing space.
I love collaborative sculpture! I'm thrilled with the result. It would have never happened without the creative input of many people.