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In Conversation: “The Intersection of Art and Math”

Join us for a conversation about the relationship between mathematics and art with mathematicians Daniel Rockmore and Pau Atela.

The Concinnitas Portfolio comprises the contributions of ten mathematicians and physicists in response to the prompt to transcribe their "most beautiful mathematical expression." The portfolio draws its name from a word famously used by the Renaissance scholar, artist, architect, and philosopher Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472) to connote a form of beauty derived from harmony in numbers and proportion. Ten prominent mathematicians and physicists were invited to select what they considered to be "the most beautiful or elegant mathematical expression." The 10 equations chosen for the Concinnitas portfolio were then printed as aquatints, reminiscent of chalk on a blackboard, and are accompanied by brief expository essays intended to explicate the selection process, and to comment on the significance of beauty as a motivational force in the production of mathematics. Contributing to the project are the following mathematicians and physicists: Michael Atiyah, Enrico Bombieri, Simon Donaldson, Freeman Dyson, Murray Gell-Mann, Richard Karp, Peter Lax, David Mumford, Stephen Smale, and Steven Weinberg.

This concept encapsulates the idea behind the print series, which began with a chance meeting between Daniel Rockmore (Department of Mathematics, Dartmouth College) and Bob Feldman (owner of Parasol Press, Ltd., the publisher of The Concinnitas Portfolio) and the ensuing discussion about the parallels between the practice of art and mathematics. The exhbition The Concinnitas Portfolio is on view at the UMCA from September 12 – December 9 , 2018.