THE SMOOTH AND THE WILDLY ROUGH

September 1, 2002 § Leave a comment

Human beings struggle to understand and represent the world’s deep structure through mathematics, science, art, music and poetry. On Sept. 1, yes, the evening before Labor Day, mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot, largely responsible for fractal geometry, will show and discuss a few of his mathematical pictures. Some mimic mountains or clouds, while others are very complex and first shock but soon look oddly familiar, especially to the artist. He will wonder why, and ponder the everlasting struggle in our minds between the word and the picture. He will tell old and new stories of: iconoclasts and other humans, stories of reason and unreason, bold hope or despair, in the search for smoothness in a world that is in every way wildly rough.

Emily Grosholz, a poet and philosopher, will read some of her poems on mathematical themes. And Elliott Sharp, a composer and experimental musician inspired by fractals and mathematics, will show us what an electric guitar can do in an autoreferential mode. Join us for an exciting evening in Roald Hoffmann’s “Entertaining Science” series!

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