Unfolding Humanity: Mathematics at Burning Man
A mathematician discusses her large-scale artwork
UMBC's Department of Mathematics and Statistics and its local chapters of Pi Mu Epsilon and Phi Beta Kappa present the annual distinguished PME speaker on April 29th: Dr. Diane Hoffoss of the University of San Diego. This event is generously supported by The College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences and CIRCA (The Center for Innovation, Research, and Creativity in the Arts).
Dr. Hoffoss will speak during the free hour (12-1pm) on Monday, April 29th in PUP 105. A reception will follow in the PUP atrium (food and refreshments provided) from 1-1:30pm.
Her talk is entitled Unfolding Humanity: Mathematics at Burning Man, detailing her recent large-scale project that stands at the intersection of mathematics, astronomy, and art. The talk will also touch on the the sociocultural inspirations for the piece, the build and planning aspects of the piece, as well as the overall experience of presenting at Burning Man.
The piece has been widely celebrated, and an associated article by Dr. Hoffoss and her collaborator, Dr. Satyan Devadoss, will appear as the cover story for April's AMS Notices.
This talk will be of broad mathematical, scientific, engineering, and artistic interest.
More on the Piece:
Unfolding Humanity is the name of this interactive metal sculpture that calls attention to the connection and contrast between humanity and technology. The sculpture is a dodecahedron with pentagonal walls that unfolds under human power, an engineered design that alludes to Albrecht Dürer's 500-year-old unsolved problem on unfolding polyhedra. When closed, the reflective interior of the sculpture will make visitors feel as though they are at the center of the universe. Influenced by revolutionary satellite data, the closed sculpture with reflective mirrors gives visitors an opportunity to be at the center of a small universe where light folds back upon itself.
More on Diane Hoffoss and the San Diego Geometry Project:
Dr. Diane Hoffoss is an associate professor at the University of San Diego in the Department of Mathematics; her research area is in manifold theory and low-dimensional topology. She is the lead artist on Unfolding Humanity and the co-Lead at the San Diego Geometry Lab, created to bring the public to the edge of the mathematical unknown. The community appreciates some of the beauty inherent in mathematics, but unfortunately, a tremendous amount of art has been based on mathematical ideas that are centuries old. The Lab's goal is to show that math is still a vibrant and magnificent subject, by creating interesting and interactive art that illuminates some of the great unsolved or cutting-edge mathematics of our time.
More on Burning Man:
Burning Man is the gold-standard for large-scale sculptures, with many participants from Silicon Valley coming to the see the newest engineering and artistic feats, and a year-long exhibit at the Smithsonian showcasing it as a one of the most influential phenomena in our culture. (Math at Burning Man.)