Hooking Up Manifolds

lorenz manifold

I love crochet. I spent a huge number of hours doing it when I was young, and only in later years did I realize that the same things that attracted it to me then are the same things that drive and motivate a lot of my research interests. (I many have mentioned this before, but it’s worth saying again).

It’s the love of patterns, plain and simple. If your child -of whetever gender- gets […] Click to continue reading this post

We’re Not Doomed

video gamerUSC has launched a Bachelor’s degree in video games. I know what you’re thinking. Stop it! No, civilisation is not doomed. (Image on right grabbed from Chip Chick). In fact, this could be rather wonderful, as it will create the opportunity to develop the potential of this medium in so many wonderful ways. It will not be about kids sitting there blowing up stuff and shooting up people. Why do I say this?

I remind you that in 1929 USC founded the first film school (at least in the USA)…. I imagine that people turned up their noses at this. Film is now recognized as a major art form, and a powerful tool for education and expression, with USC continuing to lead the pack in educating artists, visionaries and technicians in that area, feeding the local Industry and well beyond.

Doing a degree in film or movie-making (or “The Cinematic Arts”, as we are supposed […] Click to continue reading this post

Some Observations at Griffith Observatory

So I must apologize. I went to the preview of the Griffith Observatory so long ago now and did promise to blog about it with more than just one nice picture, but it did not happen. Partly because I had to go back across the Atlantic to do some work, and then got ill over the weekend I was planning to do it, and then…

Griffith Observatory

Anyway, here are some of my thoughts. First note that my two week delay means that this is no longer a scoop, since even the LA Times had a spread on the whole thing on Thursday. A rather nice one as well. I urge you to consult it for a lovely pull-out graphic of the whole site. There is also a special website with picture tours, nifty 360 degree interactive shots of the spaces, and other information. The Griffith opened yesterday.

What they’ve done over the last four or five years is simply shut down the entire building and rethink and redo a great deal of it. How to preserve the lovely 70 year old landmark, while making it even better? Simple question – simple answer: Get $93 million for your project (I find this number, the earth-sun distance in miles, suspicious), and then go underneath the existing building and hollow out about the same amount of space that is has, but underground. Fill it with lots of goodies. And I mean lots and lots. What goodies? We’ll see. […] Click to continue reading this post

Fashionably Deconstructed

Spotted in the windows of a Department store (Hermes?) in Dublin (click for larger):


They are trying to invoke a car that has been taken apart and draped with hermes 2 splendid clothing to form the display. In the picture below (click for larger), the second window’s oil can, in the carefully chosen-to-match colour, is a […] Click to continue reading this post

Promises, Promises

Due to travel, work, and illness, I’m very behind in a number of posts I was hoping to have brought to you by now. I’m planning a big session of playing catch-up tomorrow, and so please accept my apologies for the lateness of some things I promised.

Until then, I’ll leave you with another lovely Peter Goin “Narrative Photogram”, part of the series that I showed you before at the Metro/7th Subway stop on the Red Line.


They’ve put a lot of effort into those subway stations. Not nearly enough people use them or even know about them, even though they live and work in the city. Consider […] Click to continue reading this post

Field Trip, I

As part of the Freshman Seminar I told you about earlier (e.g., here, here and here), we went on a field trip to MOCA in nearby downtown LA.

We went to see the exhibition of drawings by Eva Hesse. Hesse is very well known for her sculpture, and among the things she did, I think that a rather splendid one in this context is the one below. It is an example of those that resemble three dimensional renderings of her interesting use of line on the paper.


This one (not in the exhibition) is called “Metronomic Irregularity” (I think it has a number as well… there are several pieces of this title done by her).

The group is standing in front of the sculpture I posted about earlier. There’s Ashley and Adam, left and middle. Jeff (on the right in the picture) -who is not a freshman, but a senior who does physics research projects with me- came along as well. We had a rather good time, taking […] Click to continue reading this post

Saturday Morning Fun

During the course of a coffee break during Saturday’s all day conference in Cambridge, I looked out of the window to an intriguing sight:


(Click for larger.) They were doing needlework of some sort, and it looked like a lot of fun. They were happy to let the strange man (uh… me) take the photograph he asked for. Little did I know that one of them -Richard- actually reads blogs about science including this very blog and wrote in and asked if I was that particular photographer! Small world! […] Click to continue reading this post

Irrational Memories

Back when I was young enough to care to try to list such things, I had a favourite number. Really, really faourite. I lived and breathed that number for a while. Today’s session in the freshman seminar “The Art and Science of Seeing and the Seeing and Science of Art”, about which I have blogged here and here, was all about it. Rather than do chapter and verse about it (don’t get me started!), I will instead leave you with the image that I ended with…

… and let you tell me and other readers – if you like – what you think the number is, what it means to you, and perhaps share whatever you like (or hate) about it.

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