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As cameras became more sophisticated, so too did our understanding of projective geometry. In this brief talk, we’ll explore how the art of photography has helped reveal the elegant mathematics of vision. For John Edmark, geometry is a foundation for creating beauty. Here he explains his interest in unexpected natural phenemona, and how visitors to his kaleidoscopic piece, The Geometron, can turn simple shapes into surprisingly intricate patterns of reflection. Master weaver Stacy Speyer explains how her relationship to math morphed from casual curiosity into an intensive study of the multifaceted shapes known as polyhedra. After re-creating these fundamental geometric forms in different materials, she developed her own variations and juxtapositions. Tauba Auerbach talks about randomness, the unity of art and science, and the way her Geometry Playground piece uses the beauty of geometry to draw visitors into a zone of comfort with math and their own artistic capabilities. Amy Williams, chair of Fashion at San Francisco's California College of Arts encourages the creative spirit of her students through creation of opulent gowns, made in a day with just pattern makers tissue and tape. The result is not only an education for students, but also a playful and performative experience in the process of fashion creation. Among the highlights of our Geometry Playground event were gravity-defying performances by four aerial artists from TrapezeWorld. In June, 2010, the Exploratorium will launch it's newest exhibition, Geometry Playground. Check out this teaser clip and come back for more on June 25th, 2010. The Exploratorium celebrates the 20th anniversary of Pi Day with a pie-throwing contest, Pi Day exhibits in Second Life, and more activities honoring everyone's favorite mathematical constant. Join the Exploratorium's Dr. Paul Doherty as he visits a "sculpture to observe the stars" in northern New Mexico, where the Sangre de Cristo Mountains meet the eastern plains. There artist Charles Ross is creating an art installation that is also a star observatory. This major earthwork has two main elements: the Star Tunnel, which allows you to walk through the entire history of the earth's changing alignment to our North Star, Polaris; and the Solar Pyramid, where one can visually experience an hour of the earth's rotation. In 1963 Benoit Mandelbrot introduced the fractal concept. Fractals are shapes or behaviors that have similar properties at all levels of magnification. Just as the sphere is a concept that unites raindrops, basketballs and Mars, so fractal is a concept that unites clouds, coastlines, plants and strange attractors.
Dr. Mandelbrot dropped in for a visit during our 2001 series of webcasts about Antarctica. We took some time out from the freezing cold to interview him.