In celebration and anticipation of the unveiling of the Mosely Snowflake Sponge fractal on the USC campus later today, I’m reposting an old post about an edible fractal that I did back in February 2008. They say they will be serving fractal-themed food in the reception, and so I wonder if this is one of the foods that might feature? Don’t forget to come to the event! Recall that I (jokingly) speculated that when this fractal is completed the universe will end, as its purpose will have been served? Well, it seems that this has not come to pass, so… whew.
For other fractal-related posts, click here. You might also enjoy the lovely fractal-related film, Yaddda Yadda Yada, that won a prize in the competition last year.
A small Romanesque Cauliflower. (Click for larger view.)
Imagine my delight when I spotted this lovely piece of edible mathematics in the Hollywood Farmer’s Market this morning. The stall has several of them of many sizes (this was a very little one) and of several colours. Wonderful. If you don’t know what I mean when I talk about the mathematics, or use the term fractal, look it up. There are several things of note, among which are the wonderful spiral structures that you can see (Fibonacci spirals) all over, and which in various ways, encode the infinite sequence of numbers 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233…. (you get the next one by adding the previous two) called the Fibonacci sequence. Ratios of successive members of the sequence, (e.g., 5/8, 8/13, 144/233, etc) approximate what I’ve already mentioned in an earlier post is definitely my favourite number (if I [...] Click to continue reading this post
So last week we had a visit from Kelly Stelle (he’s part of the high energy theory group at Imperial College) who gave us an excellent talk about aspects of supergravity. His work connects to the fascinating ongoing story about finiteness, and the new techniques being used to do the multiloop computations (see a recent Scientific American cover story about some of that – it is misleadingly packaged by the magazine, as usual (preview here) , but the article itself, focusing on the computational issues, is nice).
After his talk, I gave him a tour of the campus, and as we passed through the Doheny Library to view the lovely interior, we stopped by the ongoing construction of the Mosely Snowflake Sponge fractal that I told you about here.
They’re making a lot of progress.
We spent a few minutes folding some business cards to contribute some component cubes to the construction, and I took a snap (see photo on left) of Kelly at work. We made two or three cubes each…
Here’s a shot of one of the completed modules [...] Click to continue reading this post
Here are the two films that won honorable mentions in the Science Film Competition. Consider watching them in full HD. I’ll release the others tomorrow… Enjoy! -cvj
When I saw this back in August, I laughed in delight. I think it is a rather clever idea, well executed. (It’s by Farley Katz, and was in [...] Click to continue reading this post
A small Romanesque Cauliflower. (Click for larger view.)
Imagine my delight when I spotted this lovely piece of edible mathematics in the Hollywood Farmer’s Market this morning. The stall has several of them of many sizes (this was a very little one) and of several colours. Wonderful. If you don’t know what I mean when I talk about the mathematics, or use the term fractal, look it up. There are several things of note, among which are the wonderful spiral structures that you can [...] Click to continue reading this post
I did an interview last week Tuesday with the channel CU@USC. It is a chat show, and so I did the sitting on the couch thing and so forth. All very amusing…
…And hopefully useful. I am spending many hours each day building awareness for this year’s USC Science Film Competition, an annual project you might remember me starting back in 2011, and stressing over a lot. And then again in 2012. It continues to survive for another year. This is year three, and although it has given me many grey hairs, I fight on, because I think it is of value to get students from all fields, whether scientist or engineer, writer or filmmaker, journalist or artist, to learn to collaborate in the art of telling a story that has science content. (Actually, learning to collaborate to tell a story about any issue of even moderate nuance is an important skill, science or not.) Anyway, the interview material is now up online and so you can have a look here. (The site uses flash, so might not work on some devices.)
I speak about the competition and also my own take on bringing science to film both fact and fiction (which for the latter especially is probably different from many others in that I don’t think it is always productive for a scientist in a film project to be [...] Click to continue reading this post
By the way, I’ll be on the local TV show CU@USC tonight (6:30pm – live), talking about things like communicating science, science and film, and of course the USC Science Film Competition that I run that I’m trying to let students and faculty know about as much as I can. (Perhaps we’ll talk about other topics as well. We shall see.) I’ll also be joined by Simon Wilches-Castro, a student who was in the competition two years ago. He did the lovely animation for the film on fractals, called Yaddda Yadda Yada.
If you watch (live stream here), I hope you enjoy it!
Here’s the film: [...] Click to continue reading this post
It has been a busy semester so far, but not a bad one at all. There are some exciting things I ought to update you on, but now is not the time as I need a different frame of mind to pull my thoughts together on those topics. We’ve got through Green functions in the graduate electromagnetism class, which meant that we’ve been playing with the retarded potentials and doing one or two fun things with them by way of examples. The group of students I have in class is really fun to work with, and they seem to like the class worksheets that I bring them to try out from time to time. They allow me to get the students into the habit of working on a specific example where they can see how to set up a coordinate system, interpret the general expressions we’ve derived in the context of a specific example, and solve it through to the end, interpreting their results, etc. It eats up a chunk of the (1 hour 50 minute) class time, but it is well worth it, since I think that they potentially learn a great deal [...] Click to continue reading this post
Ever heard of the Mosely Snowflake Sponge? There is one being constructed on campus here at USC right now! (The image on the left is the poster for the event.) The fractal was discovered by engineer Jeannine Mosely, and she did a similar construction (of a different fractal, the Menger Sponge) some years ago out of folded business cards (see here for some great images!), and the same thing is being done here. You can learn more about the project here. Margaret Wertheim, of the Institute for Figuring, is running this project, with the help of Tyson Gaskill. Everyone is invited to join in. You can just show up and fold a few cubes as you pass by. I took a picture and made encouraging remarks on this visit. (My defense is that I’d just given an hour and a half presentation, it was getting late into the night, and I was tired.)
There’s Margaret and Tyson working on constructing it, alongside a colleague of theirs [...] Click to continue reading this post
Here are two of the top prize winners in the competition (see earlier posts for the others, and for the full list). The 2nd Prize and 3rd Prize winners are below! Consider watching them in full HD. (Sadly, the 1st Prize winner, Time, (by Kevin Le and Edward Saavedra) uses … Click to continue reading this post
So I think maybe I died and went to cvj heaven. Let me explain. I mentioned to you a while ago the freshman seminar entitled “The Art and Science of Seeing and the Seeing and Science of Art”, for which there was an enrollment snafu. Well, [...] Click to continue reading this post