Monday December 18th 2017

Creating sculpture with math

When he was growing up in the 1940s and 1950s, teachers and parents told Helaman Ferguson he would have to choose between art and science. The two fields inhabited different realms, and doing one left no room for the other. “If you can do science and have a lick of sense, you’d better,” he recalled being told, in a 2010 essay in the Notices of the American Mathematical Society (1). “Artists starve.”

 

Ferguson, who holds a doctorate in mathematics, never chose between art and science: now nearly 77 years old, he’s a mathematical sculptor. Working in stone and bronze, Ferguson creates sculptures, often placed on college campuses, that turn deep mathematical ideas into solid objects that anyone—seasoned professors, curious children, wayward mathophobes— can experience for themselves.

 

Read more in PNAS, here. 

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