Shopping in Mathemalchemy
Conway’s Curios is a small shop that satisfies your need for all sorts of curious mathematical objects. Named in honor of John Conway, this fantastic boutique sits downtown in the imaginary world of Mathemalchemy, created by a collection of mathematicians and artists. This realm presents the beauty, joy, whimsy, and humour of mathematics alongside mathematical substance and rigour.
Constructed by Edmund Harriss, the shop is filled with mathematical delights created by Vladimir Bulatov, Rochy Flint, Faye Goldman, Susan Goldstine, Edmund Harriss, Ásgerður Johannesdottir, Sabetta Matsumoto, Elizabeth Paley, Cliff Stoll, and Mary William, in collaboration with Bronna Butler, Ingrid Daubechies, Dominique Ehrmann, Jessica K. Sklar, and Caroline Yackel.
The whole project is slowly coming to life—hence the shop’s closure for refurbishment—but will be touring the US soon.
In honor of John Conway
The team originally planned to have a well-organized art gallery next to the Mandelbrot Bakery, displaying Mathemalchemy-inspired pieces. However, over time the gallery morphed into a quaint curio shop, devoted to mathematical curiosities such as the Möbius strip, the Conway knot, and the Alexander horned sphere along with Mathemalchemists’ creations. Upon the passing of the prolific and playful mathematician John Conway in April 2020, Ingrid suggested that the shop be named “Conway’s Curios” in his honor, and the team enthusiastically embraced the suggestion.
Conway’s profound contributions to mathematics—in the areas of finite group theory, knot theory, number theory, algebra, probability, and recreational mathematics—were tremendous, as was his passion for making mathematics engaging and accessible. It is fitting that he is perhaps most well-known for his creation of a game: The Game of Life. We like to think that he would have enjoyed browsing through our shop!
Read the New York Times portrait of Conway to learn more: John Horton Conway, a ‘Magical Genius’ in Math, Dies at 82.