Sunday, August 9, 2015

Bridges 2015 and Baltimore photo dump

I've been back from the Bridges conference for about a week. I enjoyed both the conference and Baltimore. The conference was held in the University of Baltimore's law building, in the Mt. Vernon neighborhood. While the location could hardly have been better, and while the law building was a delightfully math-artsy space for a math-art conference, the building lacked the large open halls of Towson (Bridges 2012). This might account for why there were no large-scale construction projects. I missed the teamwork and audacity of 2012's giant orange space-chips effort. Oh well.

I spent five very full days in Baltimore. I gave an ocarina-making workshop on Wednesday, the first day of the conference. The purpose of the workshop was twofold: (1) to demonstrate that one can produce a full-octave diatonic scale "thinking like a pianist" (seven-hole ocarina, opening successive holes to produce successive pitches in the scale) or "thinking like a mathematician" (four-hole ocarina, taking advantage of hole permutations); and (2) to proselytize clay. Interestingly, most of the workshop participants ended up thinking more like pianists than mathematicians; score one for the musicians. The workshop also gave me an excuse (not that I needed one) to visit Baltimore Clayworks (a topic for a later blog post) to have the ocarinas bisque-fired. I picked them up on Saturday and distributed them to their makers.

A bunch of mathematician-made functional ocarinas
A happy music-making mathematician

The conference had an art show split between three floors of the law building. I didn't take many photos because the photo quality here is better than anything I could manage. Photo dump is below. Talk highlights included Ingrid Daubechies on image processing for art restoration and art re-creation, and Craig Kaplan on half-toning (which culminated in a how-to for folding a modular origami half-toned Mona Lisa, and the suggestion that googly eyes might make a great half-toning medium).

While I was in Baltimore, still embracing the jetlag from our Germany trip, I got up around 5:45-6:00 a.m. every morning to go running. After the third day, it occurred to me that a city the size of Baltimore was likely to have 5Ks on a pretty regular basis, and lo, I found a 5K for Saturday morning. I finished the Casey Cares race in a respectable 20th place in the field of 50-59-year-olds, but only because the race volunteers weren't able to correctly subtract my birth year from 2015. I have no idea where I ranked among the official 40-49-year-olds, but they were probably all 30-39 years old anyway.

On Sunday morning, I took my camera with me on my run. Afterward, I headed to the Peabody Library, where conference attendees were introduced to some of the library's math-art-science gems.


This lamp reminded me of my holes/shadows fetish
This torn-paper sphere by Liz Shreve was one of my favorite pieces in the show.

Wood is a lovely math-art medium

Fractal chess on a lenticular board
This room was so crammed full of workshop attendees, I took photos instead of trying to find a seat
Unit origami sonobes
Sonobes can be assembled into a variety of polyhedra
The law building exterior
Law building spiral staircase
Law building triangular staircase
II. OUT & ABOUT IN BALTIMORE (in no particular order)

The water in my VRBO apartment was generally clear, but one morning it turned rust-brown. Here it is on its way back to being more or less clear.

Park your bikes here
Park your dogs here

In front of Penn Station

Peabody Institute

Baltimore School of Beauty Culture
View from Federal Hill

Baltimore: where "science" is a verb

Girl on urchin

Washington Monument

Card catalog in Peabody Library
Peabody Library

Radiator grill in Peabody Library
Muybridge's woman walking downstairs influenced Duchamp
First edition Galileo Galilei, Istoria e dimostrazioni intorno alle macchie solari (1613)...
...proving sunspots were part of the Sun. Notice my clean fingertips. No gloves required at the library, just clean hands.


christian said...

Thanks! Being a mathematician, musician and tinkerer myself this suggests good fun (for me and the kids) trying this ahead :)

Dramageek said...

Wow!! Thank you for all the wonderous photos of built beauty & lovely mathmatical art!

Liz Paley said...

Thanks! It's a fun conference!