Free and open to the public

Come experience the beauty and excitement of math and art!

Host: University of Illinois, Urbana

Venue: University of Illinois, Urbana

Art Exhibit – Illini Union, Room 104
Festival – Altgeld Hall

Link to Google Maps


Speakers and Workshop Leaders:

Schedule at a Glance:

(schedule subject to change)



Activity Descriptions:

Ongoing Activities

Art Exhibition. The MoSAIC Art Exhibition consists of forty-five works of mathematically inspired fine art traveling to a half dozen venues around the US over the next year.  Curated by George Hart, the artworks were selected to show a wide range of media and mathematical ideas.  Don’t miss this chance to see prints, sculpture, fiber arts, 3D prints, carved stone, clothing, and ceramics by some of the most creative math-inspired artists in the world.
Informal Exchange. Anyone can bring works to display related to math and art.  It is a place to relax and chat with other people having similar interests.  Bring something cool to share!
Math Videos. A continuous showing of videos conveying mathematical ideas and ways of thinking.  If you like Vi Hart’s math videos, you’ll enjoy this collection by a variety of video artists.

Scheduled Activities

Domino Mosaics. Participants will create mosaics that resemble source images from complete sets of double-nine dominoes.

Exploring Logo Designs Interactively. By bringing static corporate logos to life via programming, you can explore a vast world of graphical phenomena and discover effects you never imagined existed. This spirit of exploration led to the design of a novel logo and exhibit for the National Museum of Mathematics in New York City.

Divergence of Sinusoidal Vector Fields: Sources of Flow as Sources of Symmetry. Using the divergence of a vector field we create black and white symmetric patterns resembling patterns commonly found on textiles and baskets. We focus on sinusoidal vector fields of the form because of the interesting patterns they produce.

Fun with Iterative Balloon-twisting. Balloon twisting is the art of sculpting figures (e.g., animals or jester hats or swords) out of balloons. While the art is typically celebrated by small children at birthday parties or carnivals, it also has much to offer the mathematical enthusiast. A balloon structure can be thought of as a graph, where the nodes are the twists (and the two ends of the balloons), and the edges are the balloon segments between twists. In this way, balloons can be used to construct interesting mathematical structures like polyhedra and fractal objects. In this workshop, we will produce a balloon rendition of the Sierpinski tetrahedron. Given the fractal nature of the object, participants will be able to produce small iterations in parallel. Through our joint effort, we will work to construct the highest iteration of the Sierpinski tetrahedron possible. (Think big!) Along the way, participants will gain the frolicsome skill of balloon twisting – a skill that can be shared and enjoyed with other childlike spirits throughout the rest of one’s life.

Fun with Mosaic Designs. We study two different approaches for creating mosaic designs and to compare them. A traditional and well-known method in this regard is using a compass and straightedge. The other method that will be introduced and discussed during this workshop is the use of the modularity method. Modularity is a special cutting and pasting process of tiles to create tile designs. During this workshop the participants will create a series of designs using a compass and straightedge, and then through some hands-on activities, they will discover that the same designs could be constructed using modularity.

Geometry of Parallel Parking. We will use remote-controlled cars to explore the geometry of driving a car, ask whether it is possible to parallel-park an 18-wheeler, and play with Heisenblock tilings of 3D space based on recent research of this geometry.

Math and Art: A Teacher’s Perspective. Teachers of “Art Appreciation” and “Music Appreciation” courses open the minds of their students to the beauty and sublimity of the best in human art. We will discuss teaching mathematics as a liberal arts form and relate it to patterns in music. We will then investigate patterns in dance and music. Students will investigate symmetries in math and music. We will start by learning about types of symmetries in dance. We will then look at combinations of symmetries in a plane and see how the dance combinations relates to the Klein 4 group.

The Mathematics of Snowflakes. We study the geometries of snowflakes, snowflake classification, snowflake morphology diagram, and a brief overview of mathematical modeling of snowflake growth. During the workshop, participants will create their own classification system of snowflakes using their knowledge of macroscopic snowflake geometries, a magnetic board, and snowflake magnets. Participants will learn about the general idea behind the Reiter Model, a well-known and relatively new computer model modeling snowflake growth. Participants will also use a 3D printed puzzle and Zoometools to create different snowflakes included in the snowflake morphology diagram to show how at different temperatures and supersaturation levels the geometry of a single snowflake changes. That is, the same puzzle pieces just arranged in a different way will lead to snowflakes with different geometries that, in nature, form in different environments defined by temperature and supersaturation levels.

Modular Origami Dodecahedron. In this workshop we will learn about modular origami. We will also learn how simple graph theory allows us to plan the coloring of a model most efficiently. Participants will make a properly colored dodecahedron using PHiZZ units (and learn what all these terms mean!)

Self-imposed constraints in visual art: mathematical optimization approaches. All artists face constraints. Some artists embrace them. And some go so far as to self-impose them. We will examine how mathematical optimization techniques can be employed to help artists explore constraint systems and create visual artwork from source-images. Examples include domino mosaics, map-colored mosaics, and Game-of-Life mosaics.

Starry Night – The Art & Design of the Decagram. We learn how the decagram, a special 10-pointed polygonal star, is constructed, how it has been used to dazzling effect in the interlocking patterns of Persian mosaic art, and how it can ignite our own creative thinking.

Stellation and Sculpture. Stellation is a process that forms complex polyhedra from more simple geometric solids. We will first examine stellations of several regular polyhedra. Then we will study sculptures for which artists have used their knowledge of stellation to create beautiful and fascinating designs.

Workshop Poster:

To download a 300dpi, 8.5×11 PDF version of this poster, right-click this link and choose “Save Link As…” or “Download Linked File As…”