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North Carolina State University

Free and open to the public

Come experience the beauty and excitement of math and art!

Host: North Carolina State University

Venue: North Carolina State University

NC State University | SAS Hall
2311 Stinson Drive
Raleigh, NC 27695

Link to Google Maps


  • Friday, March 27, 2015, 10:00 am – 7:30 pm
  • Saturday, March 28, 2015, 10:00 am – 4:30 pm

Speakers and Workshop Leaders:

  • Ingrid Daubechies—Professor and James B. Duke Professor of Mathematics, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
  • George Hart— Sculptor and Research Professor, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York
  • Anatoly Larkin—Pianist, composer, and music teacher, Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Radmila Sazdanovic—Assistant Professor of Mathematics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Bruce Torrence—Professor of Mathematics, Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, Virginia
  • Eve Torrence—Professor of Mathematics, Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, Virginia
  • Ashley White—PhD Candidate in Mathematics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina

Schedule at a Glance:

(schedule subject to change)


  • ALL DAY, 10-7:30 – Art exhibition
  • 10:00 – 12:00 pm
    • Show and Tell with MoSAIC speakers (hands on activity and discussion)
  • 4:00 – 5:00 pm
    • Reception
  • 5:00 pm
    • NCSU Faculty – Welcome
    • George Hart – Introduction: MoSAIC Festival Project
  • 5:10 pm
    • Ingrid Daubechies – Lecture – “Math Helping Art Conservation”
  • 5:40 pm
    • George Hart – Lecture – “From Mathematics to Sculpture”
  • 6:10 pm
    • Bruce Torrence – Lecture – “Mathematics Meets Photography”
  • 6:40 pm
    • Radmila Sazdanovic – Lecture – “The Mathematics of Diagrams”
  • 7:10 pm
    • Bridges Movie Festival


  • ALL DAY, 10-4:30 – Art exhibition
  • 10:00 – 11:00 am
    • Anatoly Larkin – Public Lecture – “Music: Attack of the Sine Waves (On the Inner Ear)”
  • 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
    • George Hart – Workshop – “Group Sculpture Assembly”
    • Eve and Bruce Torrence – Workshop – “Fun with Iterative Balloon-twisting”
    • Ashley White – Workshop – “Applications of Algebra in Dance Composition“
  • 12:30 – 2:00 pm
  • 2:00 – 3:30 pm
    • George Hart – Workshop – “Group Sculpture Assembly”
    • Eve and Bruce Torrence – Workshop – “Fun with Iterative Balloon-twisting”
    • Ashley White – Workshop – “Applications of Algebra in Dance Composition”
  • 3:30 – 4:30 pm
    • Panel Discussion

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!

Scheduled Activities

Applications of Algebra in Dance Composition. This workshop will explore how dance composition can get analytical, precise, and even mathematical- but by no means boring! Regular polyhedra are often used in dance as a means of orienting yourself in space, and in this workshop we will see how algebraic concepts on the vertices of these figures can be related to choreographic devices in dance composition. We will also uncover a way of crafting variations on your own phrase of choreographic work with math!

Bridges Movie Festival. A selection 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.

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.

From Mathematics to Sculpture. George Hart will present and discuss examples of his mathematically informed sculptures, which generally apply computer technology in their design and/or fabrication. These include works made of metal, wood, plastic, or found objects, and often use laser-cutting, plasma-cutting or 3D-printing technologies in their realization. Mathematical and computer science aspects of these designs and their underlying foundations will be discussed. Physical examples will be on hand for people to see and enjoy and a few short videos will be shown.

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.

Group Sculpture Assembly. Participants will help construct an intricate mathematical sculpture designed by George Hart from laser cut wood components.

Math Helping Art Conservation. This talk will review a few instances in which algorithms involving image processing and machine learning are helping art conservators and art historians in their work on 14th century European paintings on wood panels, such as the Ghent altarpiece by Van Eyck, or several altarpieces in the collection of the North Carolina Museum of Art.

Mathematics Meets Photography. From where you are standing, right now, close one eye and imagine a transparent sphere centered at the pupil of your open eye, a sphere large enough to surround your entire head. Now paint the sphere with the scene around you: Each ray from your pupil to an object in the scene passes through the sphere in a single point, and that point should be colored to match the color of the point in the scene hit by the ray. Imagine this painting covers the entire sphere, above, below, left, right, in front, and behind. This 3D ball is a perfect spherical panorama of the scene around you. Your challenge: Make a flat photograph from it—a photo that encompasses the entire 360 degree panorama, and that introduces no distortion. Advances in digital photography make it possible to stitch together several overlapping photographs to create a seamless panoramic image. And mathematics tells us how to “project” the panorama to a flat surface in ways that minimize distortion. This presentation will explore all of these ideas, conveying both theoretical and practical information, and showing a number of works from photographers who are exploring this exciting new way of seeing.

The Mathematics of Diagrams. Visualizations and “thinking-in-pictures” are more than just illustrations–they are essential to progress in many areas of mathematics. Indeed, diagrams are themselves mathematically interesting! We will illustrate the mathematics of diagrams with examples from categorification, topology, and quantum computing. We’ll also emphasize some striking similarities with modern visual artwork.

Music: Attack of the Sine Waves (On the Inner Ear). Sine waves surround us; we hear and produce them all the time in the form sound. When this sound becomes highly organized (i.e., when a horde of sine waves attacks us coherently) we can become temporary slaves to their power. Some people refer to this power as “music”. Come to the talk with a pre-conceived notion of what music is and walk away with an even stronger conviction about what it isn’t, after suffering an unnecessary exposure to complicated trigonometric formulas and a head ready to explode from devious acoustic experiments. (No harm intended).

Press Release:

For a PDF of the press release for this event, click here.

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…”

NCSU poster



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