Print this page

Portland State University


Free and open to the public

Come experience the beauty and excitement of math and art!

Host: Portland State University

Venue: Portland State University

Neuberger Hall and Autzen Gallery
724 SW Harrison Street
Portland, OR 97201


Hoffman Hall
1833 SW 11th
Portland, OR 97201

Link to Google Maps


  • Friday, February 20, 2015, 10:00 am – 7:30 pm
  • Saturday, February 21, 2015, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Speakers and Workshop Leaders:

  • Joel Bluestone—Professor of Music, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon
  • Bob Bosch—Robert and Eleanor Biggs Professor of Natural Science, Oberlin College, Ohio
  • George Hart— Sculptor and Research Professor, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York
  • Judy Holdener—Professor of Mathematics, Department of Mathematics, Kenyon College, Ohio
  • Reza Sarhangi—President, Bridges Organization; and Professor of Mathematics, Towson University, Maryland

Schedule at a Glance:

(schedule subject to change)


Autzen Gallery

  • ALL DAY, 10-7:30 – Art exhibition and Informal Exchange
  • 10:00 – 12:00 pm
    • Show and Tell with MoSAIC speakers (hands on activity and discussion)

Neuberger Hall

  • 4:00 – 5:00 pm
    • Reception
  • 5:00 pm
    • PDX Faculty – Welcome
    • Reza Sarhangi – Introduction: MoSAIC Festival Project
  • 5:10 pm
    • Reza Sarhangi – Lecture – “Starry Night – The Art & Design of the Decagram”
  • 5:40 pm
    • Judy Holdener – Lecture – “Divergence of Sinusoidal Vector Fields: Sources of Flow as Sources of Symmetry”
  • 6:10 pm
    • George Hart – Lecture – “From Mathematics to Sculpture”
  • 6:40 pm
    • Bob Bosch – Lecture – “Self-imposed Constraints in Visual Art: Mathematical Optimization Approaches”
  • 7:10 – 7:30 pm
    • Bridges Movie Festival (20 minutes)


Autzen Gallery

  • ALL DAY, 10-6 – Art exhibition and Informal Exchange

Hoffman Hall

  • 10:00 – 11:00 am
    • Joel Bluestone – Public Lecture – Polyrhythmic Music and the Sound of Mathematics
  • 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
    • Bob Bosch – Workshop – “Domino Mosaics”
    • George Hart – Workshop – “Group Sculpture Assembly”
    • Judy Holdener – Workshop – “Fun with Iterative Balloon-twisting”
    • Reza Sarhangi – Workshop – “Fun with Mosaic Designs”
  • 12:30 – 2:00 pm
  • 2:00 – 3:30 pm
    • Bob Bosch – Workshop – “Domino Mosaics”
    • George Hart – Workshop – “Group Sculpture Assembly”
    • Judy Holdener – Workshop – “Fun with Iterative Balloon-twisting”
    • Reza Sarhangi – Workshop – “Fun with Mosaic Designs”
  • 3:30 – 5:00 pm
    • Panel Discussion and Movies

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.

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.

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.

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

Polyrhythmic Music and the Sound of Mathematics. In this session we will explore various polyrhythms found in Music. Examples will be drawn from groups such as AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and Frank Zappa among others. We will learn and employ the mathematical techniques that inform the performance of these polyrythms and then, execute said rhythms together. So please come prepared to engage your mind, clap your hands and stomp your feet.

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.

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…”

MoSAIC poster Portland State


Previous page: Schedule
Next page: What People Say