Click on the names below to discover the portraits of the twenty-four members of the Mathemalchemy art project.
- Emily Baker
- Dorothy Buck
- Bronna Butler
- Ingrid Daubechies
- Dominique Ehrmann
- Rochy Flint
- Faye Goldman
- Susan Goldstine
- Edmund Harriss
- Li-Mei Lim
- Sabetta Matsumoto
- Vernelle A. A. Noel
- Elizabeth Paley
- Kathy Peterson
- Samantha Pezzimenti
- Tasha Pruitt
- Kimberly Roth
- Henry Segerman
- Jessica K. Sklar
- Daina Taimina
- Edward Vogel
- Jake Wildstrom
- Mary Williams
- Carolyn Yackel
- Adjuvant Mathemalchemists
- Cosetted Mathemalchemists
- Adjoint Mathemalchemists
- Mathemalchemist’s Apprentices
- Mathemalchemist Babies
The following diagrams illustrate how intensely the different team members interacted, rearranging themselves into different subgroups that took on the main responsibility for individual scenes and components. Final approval for everything always came in a full-group discussion. As one of us put it, with a heartfelt sigh, “there was a lot of zooming”.
Emily Baker is an architect and educator whose full-scale constructed experimentation informs her creative work and teaching. Experience on job sites in architectural practice catalyzed her search for novel structural and construction systems. Her work, employing both digital and analog design and fabrication techniques, seeks to discover new aesthetic territory embedded in the way architecture is conceived and constructed. She received a Master of Architecture from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a Bachelor of Architecture from University of Arkansas, where she is now an assistant professor at the Fay Jones School of Architecture. In 2020, she received an award from the American Institute of Steel Construction; the jury liked in particular her ongoing research on kirigami-inspired space frame construction.
Dorothy Buck had 2 PhD advisors, one in Mathematics and one in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. Her mathematical expertise concentrates on topology (in particular knots, links and entanglements), but she also spent 6 years at the bench in a yeast lab. She worked at
Johns Hopkins Medical Institute, Brown University, Imperial College London and at the University of Bath (where she was Co-Director of the Centre for Mathematical Biology) before her present position at Duke University, joint between the Mathematics and Biology Departments.
Headshot by Pat Paul Photography © 2019
Bronna has a B.A. in Art and an M.S. in Accounting from the University of Missouri. After being a financial executive for 22 years for creative entrepreneurial firms in design, publishing, and telecommunications, she founded B.A. Baroque Arts, LLC in 1997. She has completed numerous commissioned pieces, including a twenty-foot-tall stainless-steel monument, 900 square feet of stained-glass windows, and over 140 oil and pastel paintings. In 2015 she began creating glass, mirror, and metal sculptures, as well as two-dimensional artwork, with a focus on recreational mathematics, mathematicians, physicists, and science. Her work includes puzzles, enigmas, and optical illusions.
Mathemalchemy’s beacon reflects a 2020 breakthrough of mathematicians Jayadev Athreya, David Aulicino and Patrick Hooper.
Bronna Butler, professional artist, math lover and Mathemalchemy team member, demonstrates how her stained glass creation illustrates one of the infinitely many dodecahedral trajectories.
Photo by Duke Media Services
Ingrid Daubechies is a mathematician, although her degree is in (theoretical) physics, and she thought she would become an engineer while growing up. Her mother was heartbroken when she opted for pure science instead, and predicted Ingrid would end up in the gutter, jobless. Fortunately, matters turned out better. Ingrid is now at Duke University. Her academic work focuses on mathematical methods for the analysis of signals, images and data, with applications in many directions. She enjoys working in collaboration with others, in her scientific work as well as otherwise; she is thrilled to be part of the Mathemalchemy team.
Discover the mathematical inspiration underpinning the creation of the Mandelbrot Bakery.
One of Marjorie Rice’s tilings, symmetry, Vladimir Arnold’s cat, dynamical systems and many more mathematical concepts are represented in this charming bakery.
Headshot photo by Claudette Lemay
Dominique is a self-taught fiber and other media artist. Quilting is the medium she uses to tell most of her stories. She knows the rules, patterns and techniques. She uses them as a means to transport, express, touch and reinvent. First a story emerges and then it starts building up, taking shape, growing in the three dimensions. She assembles it in her head, designs it to the last detail and once ready, she turns it into a sketch. Sketches become paper models, who then become patterns, she pushes back all limits and frontiere. Her artwork plays with the wind, defies gravity, invites exploration and interaction. Her work as been seen in Museums and other exhibition halls in Canada, France and USA. She is recognised to have rocked the boat in the quilting world.
Bringing together twenty-three mathematical artists and artistic mathematicians to create a large multimedia art installation requires planning . . . and a detailed maquette (aka, preliminary model).
Dominique Ehrmann introduced the Mathemalchemy team members to her Maquette Creation Process. See how the three maquettes helped to create, discuss, question, structure, validate and inspire them.
Rochy is a mathematician and lifetime learner. She is also the proud mom of six awesome children. Her research areas include geometric topology, the intersection of women and mathematics, and student-centered learning models. She has been a mathematics educator for 20+ years. Rochy is a lecturer at Teachers College, Columbia University. She earned a B.S. in mathematics from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in mathematics from The Graduate Center in the City University of New York. She is the founder of MathChavrusa and is passionate about mathematics outreach and multicultural MathSpaces.
Prime Play on a Prime Day 3/11/43×473 and 11 are prime, and while we are not in a prime year, 2021 is the product of two consecutive primes.
The Chipmunks Sorting Primes Vignette in a way expresses my path in mathematics which went from a blind acceptance of facts – here’s a formula, plug and chug, and it will work – to understanding that mathematics is a human endeavor, one where we can create the rules and see how it evolves.
Faye received a BS in Chemistry and Mathematics before receiving a MSLS in Library Science and a MS in Operations research. She has always been fascinated with puzzles and recreational mathematics. After almost 35 years in business she was able to retire to pursue her love of origami. Her adult interest centered around modular origami and through that Snapology. She published ‘Geometric Origami’, Thunder Bay Press, 2014. She has had work included in various exhibits around the world, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2019), ‘Math Unfolded’ at the Museum of Mathematics (2019) and Mathematical Art Exhibits at the Joint Mathematics Meetings and Bridges (2014-2019).
Fold one of our Cootie Catcher Fortune Tellers and reveal your mathematic future… Download our PDF
A long time ago, I discovered with origami a way to express fascinating and complex mathematical concepts in delicate, infinite and touching forms: flowers, shells, rocks, … During the last year, my Mathemalchemy’s teammates and I have played with shapes, concepts and colors to “unfold” our imaginary realm. It was, and continues to be, a…
Susan Goldstine received her A.B. in Mathematics and French from Amherst College and her Ph.D. in Mathematics from Harvard University. For the past decade, her artworks have appeared in mathematical art exhibits across the US and around the world. The 2014 book Crafting Conundrums: Puzzles and Patterns for the Bead Crochet Artist, which she cowrote with Dr. Ellie Baker, collects their extensive research on the mathematics of bead crochet. Susan is Professor of Mathematics at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where she has been on the faculty since 2004, a member of the Bridges Organization Board of Directors, and an Associate Editor for the Journal of Mathematics and the Arts. Her guiding principle is that a professor’s office can never have too many toys.
In recent years, I have been increasingly absorbed by representing different symmetry structures in various fiber arts: knitting, embroidery, beadwork, and so forth. The underlying mathematics is fascinating and often interacts with each handcraft in subtle ways.
Headshot Photo Credits: Andy Shupe, Arkansas Democrat Gazette
Edmund Harriss is a mathematician, teacher, artist and maker, in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Arkansas. His research veers from illustrating algebraic numbers, through the differential geometry of controlling CNC machines to mathematical art and perceptualism. His research has appeared in journals including Nature, and the proceedings of the National Academy of Science, as well as in the national and international media, including New Scientist, NPR, the Guardian and Numberphile. His artwork is installed in several universities from Imperial College in London to the University of Arkansas, including a 10′ metal sculpture currently (Fall 2020) being at the university of Arkansas. He has created two adult coloring books of mathematical images which open up a large range of mathematical topics to a wide range of people.
Conway’s Curios is a small shop that satisfies your need for all sorts of curious mathematical objects. It sits downtown in the imaginary world of Mathemalchemy, created by a collection of mathematicians and artists.
Li-Mei Lim is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Boston University. She earned her BS from MIT and her PhD from Brown University, both in mathematics. Her research is in the field of analytic number theory and automorphic forms. Her other professional interests include mathematical education and outreach, and she serves as the Executive Director for PROMYS, a summer program for talented high school students.
When people ask me what number theory (my research area) is, we invariably end up talking about primes. When they ask me what I like about my field, I tell them about how I love to see patterns and make connections–something I like about all of mathematics–and about how number theory in particular has problems…
Sabetta Matsumoto received her BA, MS and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Princeton Center for Theoretical Sciences and in the Applied Mathematics group and Harvard University. She is a professor in the School of Physics at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She uses differential geometry, knot theory, and geometric topology to understand the geometry of materials and their mechanical properties. She is passionate about using textiles, 3D printing, and virtual reality to teach geometry and topology to the public.
Vernelle A. A. Noel
Vernelle A. A. Noel is a scholar, architect, artist, TED Speaker, and Assistant Professor in Architecture and Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on using design computation and ethnographic methods to investigate traditional and automated making, human-computer interaction, interdisciplinary creativity, and their intersections with society. She is particularly interested in building new expressions, tools, and methodologies to explore and describe social, cultural, and political aspects of making, computational design and emerging technologies. Currently her work focuses on the Trinidad Carnival and the craft of wire-bending embedded in this cultural design practice.
Elizabeth Paley spent far too much time in college, earning degrees in physics (BS, University of Illinois), astronomy (MS, University of Arizona), piano performance (BMus, Arizona), and music theory (PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison) before throwing caution to the wind and becoming an academic expat.
She currently teaches science writing for engineers at Duke University and wheel classes for potters at Claymakers Arts Community (Durham, NC). A life-long pianist, she finds working with clay similar to practicing a musical instrument: both processes invite one to develop attention to form and detail, to balance technique with improvisation, and to discover a personal creative voice.
Since joining the Mathemalchemy project, I have found myself discussing questions that I never could have anticipated asking previously—questions like “why would a tortoise use a backpack to transport tessellating cookies, instead of using a wagon?” and “yes, but what is the chipmunks’ motivation?” I have relished the unexpected sentences the team has generated over…
Kathy comes from the other side of campus graduating from UW-Milwaukee with a degree in Business Administration. Currently the Administrative Coordinator for the Rhodes Information Initiative at Duke University, Kathy wandered into the group as assistant to Ingrid Daubechies. When asked, “Do you want to help?” the answer was, “Absolutely!” Kathy’s love of crafts comes by naturally and her hubby is happy to support her habit. These days she spends her spare time crafting for her two wonderful granddaughters, family, friends or for various charities.
Samantha Pezzimenti is an Assistant Teaching Professor of Mathematics at Penn State Brandywine.
She earned a B.S. in mathematics from Ramapo College of New Jersey, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in mathematics from Bryn Mawr College. Her primary research interests are in contact topology, Legendrian knot theory, and recreational mathematics. She loves working on mathematical crafts and has contributed artwork to the Mathematical Art Exhibits at the Joint Mathematics Meetings. In addition, she is dedicated to mathematics outreach and has been involved in several programs to promote interest in mathematics among K-12 students.
About a year ago, I was lucky to have attended Ingrid’s and Dominique’s presentation at the JMM where they introduced their proposal for Mathemalchemy. I immediately offered my support, but admitted that I did not feel qualified to join the group. After all, I am a mathematician, not an artist. Dominique assured me that I’d…
Tasha’s inspiration for various expressions in visual art is driven by nature, science, travel, the human experience, and the wonder of the cosmos. As most artists do, she knew from childhood that she wanted to make art. Despite not having an institutional education, she values the infinity of knowledge and is a student of life. She has worked with countless talented creators along the way. Her practice is informed by painters, musicians, sculptors, photographers, storytellers, make-up artists, scholars, fashion designers, tattoo artists, chefs… to name a few. She uses those skills with honor and relishes continuing the learning process every day while passing along the knowledge absorbed.
Kimberly A. Roth is a statistically cross-trained mathematician. She teaches mathematics, statistics, and data science at Juniata College in central Pennsylvania. Her Ph.D is in mathematics from The Pennsylvania State University and Masters in Applied Statistics is from the Pennsylvania State University’s World Campus. Her bachelor’s degree is in mathematics with a minor in computer science from Oberlin College. Her research interests include statistical techniques for microbial data, the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and recreational math especially about board games or knitting. She is frequently found knitting.
Photo by James Glossop
Henry Segerman received his masters in mathematics from the University of Oxford, and his Ph.D. in mathematics from Stanford University. He is an associate professor in the Department of Mathematics at Oklahoma State University. His research interests are in three-dimensional geometry and topology, and in mathematical art and visualization. In visualization, he works in 3D printing, spherical video, virtual, and augmented reality. He is the author of the book “Visualizing Mathematics with 3D Printing“.
Watch Henry Segerman’s video chronicle.
One of the mathematical scenes that I’ve been involved with is the lighthouse. The top of the lighthouse will have two lights – one projecting horizontally from within a stained glass dodecahedron made by Bronna Butler, and the other projecting up on the the ceiling.
This will repurpose an…
Jessica K. Sklar
Jessica K. Sklar is a professor of mathematics at Pacific Lutheran University. She earned B.A.s in mathematics and English at Swarthmore College, and a Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Oregon. Her research interests include algebra, recreational math, math in popular culture, and mathematical art. She co-edited the book Mathematics and Popular Culture (McFarland, 2012) with Elizabeth S. Sklar, authored the open-source textbook First-Semester Algebra: A Structural Approach (2017), and contributed two chapters (one with Jennifer Firkins Nordstrom) to the Handbook of the Mathematics of the Arts and Sciences (Springer, 2020).
When Dominique asked for proposals for Mathemalchemy scenes, I sent her a proposal like this: “Something involving infinity . . . Zeno’s path (related to Zeno’s dichotomy paradox), a hill whose volume is approximated with cuboids, Koch snowflakes.” Dominique’s response was polite: “I see that I have not communicated clearly what is needed. I am…
Graduated summa cum laude from University of Latvia (Riga, Latvia). Her PhD (1990) thesis advisor was Prof. Rūsiņš Mārtiņš Freivalds, world renowned for his work in Theoretical Computer Science. For 20 years Daina taught different mathematics courses in the University of Latvia. Since 1996 her professional career has been in Cornell University (USA). She retired from teaching in 2015. Daina has participated in art shows in the USA, Belgium, Latvia, Italy, Germany, UK, Finland. Daina has written several books in mathematics and a book Crocheting Adventures with the Hyperbolic Planes which in 2012 received Euler Book Prize for “the best book about mathematics for the general audience”. (2nd edition 2018). Her most recent book (2020) Experiencing Geometry (with David W. Henderson) is published as open access book: https://projecteuclid.org/euclid.bia/1598805325
Edward Vogel is a largely self educated electrical engineer and STEM/Arts educator currently residing in Minneapolis Minnesota. His interests and activities range from three conference papers on opto-electronic computing circuits and systems to exploring the graph and group mathematical properties of Pentominoes and the Soma Cube to creating musical coloring books. His math art piece “About Fifty” was shown at the Joint Mathematics Meeting 2020.
It is always snowing over Riemann-Lebesgue Hill. This snow is likely a bit different from what you see falling in your neighborhood. The snowflakes in the Mathemalchemy exhibit are formed using mathematics and lasers.
Jake Wildstrom is an associate professor in the mathematics department of the University of Louisville, in Kentucky. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California at San Diego in 2007. His academic specialty is combinatorial optimization, specifically with regard to communication and transportation networks. Jake has participated in several Bridges Math & Art conferences, and his artistic work is primarily in the field of crochet. His mathematical explorations into crochet have included theoretical designs and practical implementations of intermeshed crochet grids, self-similar and fractal designs, center-worked irregular polygons, braids and knots, and the controlled use of randomness as a design element.
I think about knots a lot these days, and I think about how complicated those knots are. My work involves knots, and knots within knots. The fanciful sea creatures I’m crocheting are a variant of knots called theta curves. Knots with a mathematical twist While knots, in the mathematical sense, are tangled loops, theta curves…
Mary is a lifelong knitter, sewer, costumer, quilter, weaver and all-round crafter. She participated in the Bridges Math & Art conferences from ’00 to ’06, in the ISAMA (International Society of the Arts, Mathematics and Architecture) ’07 conference, as well as in the Art Galleries at JMM ’04, ’08 and ‘20. Her focus is on Celtic knots and what should be called Celtic Links, and their mathematics.
Headshot photo by Yu Zhang
Traditionally trained in mathematics with a PhD in commutative algebra from the University of Michigan, Mercer University professor Carolyn Yackel has dedicated two decades to developing the field of mathematical fiber arts, including co-editing three books on the topic. Her other professional interests include recreational mathematics and undergraduate mathematics education. She actively works to engage others in exciting mathematics. Her own approaches to making mathematics visible through art involve a variety of mathematical ideas, techniques and media, including temari balls, knitting, crocheting, and more recently digital art, laser cutting, and shibori dyeing.
Read more about the Ball Arches Next: Mathematical Connections in the Stack of Books
Two Ball Arches over Mathemalchemy When you first saw Mathemalchemy, what struck you the most? Let’s guess it’s the two arches showing balls (spheres) of different sizes. Although the spheres in both arches become arbitrarily small, the spheres in one arch extend indefinitely, crashing into the ocean and plummeting into its depths. The spheres in the other…
There are many more Mathemalchemists than only the inner group of 24 members!
We are very grateful for the generous help from the following Adjuvant Mathemalchemists:
- Jacinthe Beaulieu, our always inventive webmaster
- Charles Bennett and Gilles Brassard, whose quantum key distribution scheme inspired the extra cryptography quiltlet, and who provided us with source material and many suggestions during its realization
- Robert Bosch, who designed the beautiful grille in front of the furnace underneath the oven in the Bakery, based on TSP art
- Nick Bruscia and Dan Vrana, who designed and made the hepta-hyperboloids that became the chimney of the Bakery oven as well as an art object in the Curio Shop
- Vincent Edwards, who made a beautiful baker-folded table displayed next to the Stack-of-Books
- Gwen Fisher, who whipped together at extremely short notice a beautiful complex beaded Bead for display in the Curio Shop
- Shanon Jacobs, on whose organizational genius we quickly came to depend in the final stages of the project
- Alfred Kennett, who was commissioned, together with Gavin Smith, for the structural woodwork, made to exacting specifications
- Gabie LaCourse, who needle-felted the wonderfully mischievous bakery assistant Mo[u]se
- Caroline Series, who generously provided us with sketches related to Indra’s Pearls that we used for the Doodle Page
- Gavin Smith, whose assistance was essential for the Bakery building, and who was commissioned, together with Alfred Kennet, for the structural woodwork
- ET Trigg, who offered to write and then wrote the Wikipedia page on Mathemalchemy
- Wil Weldon, who used not only his skill but also a lot of heart in putting together the Mathemalchemy Documentary
Inspired by the enthusiasm for Mathemalchemy that they experienced vicariously, several companions of inner core team members started contributing their energy, expertise and time, all with great good humor. The following have been declared Cosetted Mathemalchemists, in thankful recognition for all their contributions:
- Robert Calderbank
- Stephan LaCourse
- Ásgerður Jóhannesdóttir
- Michael Ribick
- Stefan Zauscher
The following Adjoint Mathemalchemists gave us permission to use reproductions of some of their artwork in the Mathemalchemy installation, or helped us by providing useful information and practical help:
- Jayadev Athreya, David Aulicino and Patrick Hooper
- David Auckly and Henry Fowler
- Michèle Audin and Reinhard Bölling
- Manjul Bhargava and K. Ramasubramanian
- Diana Davis and Samuel Lelièvre
- Moon Duchin
- Alireza Farhang and Jean-François Trubert
- Amanda Ghassaei
- George Hart
- Veronika Irvine
- Beoleong and SweeCheng Lim
- Stephanie Magdziak
- Ursula Martin and Alain Goriely
- Jonathan Mattingly
- Lisa Piccirillo
- Penelope Starr-Oberski
- Bobby Stecher
- Cliff Stohl
- Conan Wu
- Brent Yorgey
During the first construction of the installation, at Duke University in July 2021, the following Mathemalchemist’s Apprentices volunteered their help:
- Carolyn Calderbank
- Charlotte Buck Haskins
- Dan Jorgensen
- Holden Lee
- Alex Winn
- Elias Zauscher
And during the fabrication of the installation, we welcomed the birth of Mathemalchemist babies: