Category Archives: Mathematics

Illustrating math at the University of Saskatchewan (Canada)

Art and math intersect in Dr. Steven Rayan’s work on quantum materials at the University of Saskatchewan (USask).

An illustration by Elliot Kienzle (undergraduate research assistant, quanTA Centre, USask) of a hyperbolic crystal in action

A May 2, 2022 USask news release (also received via email) describes Rayan’s work in more detail,

Art and mathematics may go hand-in-hand when building new and better materials for use in quantum computing and other quantum applications, according to University of Saskatchewan (USask) mathematician Dr. Steven Rayan (PhD).

Quantum materials are what futuristic dreams are made of. Such materials are able to efficiently conduct and insulate electric currents – the everyday equivalent of never having a lightbulb flicker. Quantum materials may be the fabric of tomorrow’s supercomputers, ones that can quickly and accurately analyze and solve problems to a degree far beyond what was previously thought possible.

“Before the 1700s, people were amazed that metals could be melted down and reshaped to suit their needs, be it the need for building materials or for tools. There was no thought that, perhaps, metals were capable of something much more — such as conducting electricity,” said Rayan, an associate professor of mathematics and statistics in the USask College of Arts and Science who also serves as the director of the USask Centre for Quantum Topology and its Applications (quanTA).

“Today, we’re at a similar juncture. We may be impressed with what materials are capable of right now, but tomorrow’s materials will redefine our expectations. We are standing at a doorway and on the other side of it is a whole new world of materials capable of things that we previously could not imagine.”

Many conducting materials exhibit a crystal-like structure that consists of tiny cells repeating over and over. Previous research published in Science Advances had highlighted Rayan and University of Alberta physicist Dr. Joseph Maciejko’s (PhD) success in defining a new type of quantum material that does not follow a typical crystal structure but instead consists of “hyperbolic” crystals that are warped and curved. 

“This is an immense paradigm shift in the understanding of what it means to be a ‘material’,” said Rayan.

It is expected that hyperbolic materials will exhibit the perfect conductivity of current quantum materials, but at slightly higher temperatures. Today’s quantum materials often need to be supercooled to extremely low temperatures to reach their full potential. Maintaining such temperatures is an obstacle to implementing widespread quantum computing, which has the potential to impact information security, drug design, vaccine development, and other crucial tasks. Hyperbolic materials may be part of the solution to this problem.

Hyperbolic materials may also be the key to new types of sensors and medical imaging devices, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines that take advantage of quantum effects in order to be more lightweight for use in rural or remote environments.

USask recently named Quantum Innovation as one of its three new signature areas of research [Note: Link removed] to respond to emerging questions and needs in the pursuit of new knowledge.

“All of this comes at the right time, as new technologies like quantum computers, quantum sensors, and next-generation fuel cells are putting new demands on materials and exposing the limits of existing components,” said Rayan.

This year has seen two new articles by Rayan together with co-authors extending previous research of hyperbolic materials. The first is written with Maciejko and appears in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The second has been written with University of Maryland undergraduate student Elliot Kienzle, who served as a USask quanTA research assistant under Rayan’s supervision in summer of 2021.

In these two articles, the power of mathematics used to study quantum and hyperbolic crystals is significantly extended through the use of tools from geometry. These tools have not typically been applied to the study of materials. The results will make it much easier for scientists experimenting with hyperbolic materials to make accurate predictions about how they will behave as electrical conductors.

Reflecting on the initial breakthrough of considering hyperbolic geometry rather than ordinary geometry, Rayan said, “What is interesting is that these warped crystals have appeared in mathematics for over 100 years as well as in art – for instance, in the beautiful woodcuts of M.C. Escher – and it is very satisfying to see these ideas practically applied in science.”

The work also intersects with art in another way. The article with Kienzle, which was released in pre-publication form on February 1, 2022 [sic], was accompanied by exclusive hand drawings provided by Kienzle. With concepts in mathematics and physics often being difficult to visualize, the artwork helps the work to come to life and invites everyone to learn about the function and power of quantum materials. 

The artwork, which is unusual for mathematics or physics papers, has garnered a lot of positive attention on social media.

“Elliot is tremendously talented not only as an emerging researcher in mathematics and physics, but also as an artist,” said Rayan. “His illustrations have added a new dimension to our work, and I hope that this is the start of a new trend in these types of papers where the quality and creativity of illustrations are as important as the correctness of equations.”

Here are links to and citations for both of Rayan’s most recent papers,

Hyperbolic band theory through Higgs bundles by Elliot Kienzle and Steven Rayan. arXiv:2201.12689 (or arXiv:2201.12689v1 [math-ph] for this version) DOI: https://doi.org/10.48550/arXiv.2201.1268 Submitted on 30 Jan 2022

This paper is open access and open for peer review.

Automorphic Bloch theorems for hyperbolic lattices by Joseph Maciejko and Steven Rayan. PNAS February 25, 2022 | 119 (9) e2116869119 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2116869119

This peer-reviewed paper is behind a paywall.

Entropic bonding for nanoparticle crystals

A January 19, 2022 University of Michigan news release (also on EurekAlert) is written in a Q&A (question and answer style) not usually seen on news releases, Note: Links have been removed),

Turns out entropy binds nanoparticles a lot like electrons bind chemical crystals

ANN ARBOR—Entropy, a physical property often explained as “disorder,” is revealed as a creator of order with a new bonding theory developed at the University of Michigan and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [PNAS]. 

Engineers dream of using nanoparticles to build designer materials, and the new theory can help guide efforts to make nanoparticles assemble into useful structures. The theory explains earlier results exploring the formation of crystal structures by space-restricted nanoparticles, enabling entropy to be quantified and harnessed in future efforts. 

And curiously, the set of equations that govern nanoparticle interactions due to entropy mirror those that describe chemical bonding. Sharon Glotzer, the Anthony C. Lembke Department Chair of Chemical Engineering, and Thi Vo, a postdoctoral researcher in chemical engineering, answered some questions about their new theory.

What is entropic bonding?

Glotzer: Entropic bonding is a way of explaining how nanoparticles interact to form crystal structures. It’s analogous to the chemical bonds formed by atoms. But unlike atoms, there aren’t electron interactions holding these nanoparticles together. Instead, the attraction arises because of entropy. 

Oftentimes, entropy is associated with disorder, but it’s really about options. When nanoparticles are crowded together and options are limited, it turns out that the most likely arrangement of nanoparticles can be a particular crystal structure. That structure gives the system the most options, and thus the highest entropy. Large entropic forces arise when the particles become close to one another. 

By doing the most extensive studies of particle shapes and the crystals they form, my group found that as you change the shape, you change the directionality of those entropic forces that guide the formation of these crystal structures. That directionality simulates a bond, and since it’s driven by entropy, we call it entropic bonding.

Why is this important?

Glotzer: Entropy’s contribution to creating order is often overlooked when designing nanoparticles for self-assembly, but that’s a mistake. If entropy is helping your system organize itself, you may not need to engineer explicit attraction between particles—for example, using DNA or other sticky molecules—with as strong an interaction as you thought. With our new theory, we can calculate the strength of those entropic bonds.

While we’ve known that entropic interactions can be directional like bonds, our breakthrough is that we can describe those bonds with a theory that line-for-line matches the theory that you would write down for electron interactions in actual chemical bonds. That’s profound. I’m amazed that it’s even possible to do that. Mathematically speaking, it puts chemical bonds and entropic bonds on the same footing. This is both fundamentally important for our understanding of matter and practically important for making new materials.

Electrons are the key to those chemical equations though. How did you do this when no particles mediate the interactions between your nanoparticles?

Glotzer: Entropy is related to the free space in the system, but for years I didn’t know how to count that space. Thi’s big insight was that we could count that space using fictitious point particles. And that gave us the mathematical analogue of the electrons.

Vo: The pseudoparticles move around the system and fill in the spaces that are hard for another nanoparticle to fill—we call this the excluded volume around each nanoparticle. As the nanoparticles become more ordered, the excluded volume around them becomes smaller, and the concentration of pseudoparticles in those regions increases. The entropic bonds are where that concentration is highest. 

In crowded conditions, the entropy lost by increasing the order is outweighed by the entropy gained by shrinking the excluded volume. As a result, the configuration with the highest entropy will be the one where pseudoparticles occupy the least space.

The research is funded by the Simons Foundation, Office of Naval Research, and the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. It relied on the computing resources of the National Science Foundation’s Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment. Glotzer is also the John Werner Cahn Distinguished University Professor of Engineering, the Stuart W. Churchill Collegiate Professor of Chemical Engineering, and a professor of material science and engineering, macromolecular science and engineering, and physics at U-M.

Here’s a link to and a citation for the paper,

A theory of entropic bonding by Thi Vo and Sharon C. Glotzer. PNAS January 25, 2022 119 (4) e2116414119 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2116414119

This paper is behind a paywall.

Fractal brain structures and story listening

For anyone who needs to brush up on their fractals,

Caption: Zoomed in detail of the Mandelbrot set, a famous fractal, at different spatial scales of 1x, 4x, 16x, and 64x (from left to right). Credit: Image by Jeremy R. Manning.

My September 3, 2012 posting (Islands of Benoît Mandelbrot: Fractals, Chaos, and the Materiality of Thinking exhibition opening in Sept. 2012 in New York) includes an explanation of fractals. There is another explanation in the news release that follows below.

The story

A September 30, 2021 Dartmouth College news release announces work from a team of researchers using the concept of fractals as a way of understanding how the brain works (Note: Links have been removed),

Understanding how the human brain produces complex thought is daunting given its intricacy and scale. The brain contains approximately 100 billion neurons that coordinate activity through 100 trillion connections, and those connections are organized into networks that are often similar from one person to the next. A Dartmouth study has found a new way to look at brain networks using the mathematical notion of fractals, to convey communication patterns between different brain regions as people listened to a short story.The results are published in Nature Communications.

“To generate our thoughts, our brains create this amazing lightning storm of connection patterns,” said senior author Jeremy R. Manning, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences, and director of the Contextual Dynamics Lab at Dartmouth. “The patterns look beautiful, but they are also incredibly complicated. Our mathematical framework lets us quantify how those patterns relate at different scales, and how they change over time.”

In the field of geometry, fractals are shapes that appear similar at different scales. Within a fractal, shapes and patterns are repeated in an infinite cascade, such as spirals comprised of smaller spirals that are in turn comprised of still-smaller spirals, and so on. Dartmouth’s study shows that brain networks organize in a similar way: patterns of brain interactions are mirrored simultaneously at different scales. When people engage in complex thoughts, their networks seem to spontaneously organize into fractal-like patterns. When those thoughts are disrupted, the fractal patterns become scrambled and lose their integrity.

The researchers developed a mathematical framework that identifies similarities in network interactions at different scales or “orders.” When brain structures do not exhibit any consistent patterns of interaction, the team referred to this as a “zero-order” pattern. When individual pairs of brain structures interact, this is called a “first-order” pattern. “Second-order” patterns refer to similar patterns of interactions in different sets of brain structures, at different scales. When patterns of interaction become fractal— “first-order” or higher— the order denotes the number of times the patterns are repeated at different scales.

The study shows that when people listened to an audio recording of a 10-minute story, their brain networks spontaneously organized into fourth-order network patterns. However, this organization was disrupted when people listened to altered versions of the recording. For example, when the story’s paragraphs were randomly shuffled, preserving some but not all of the story’s meaning, people’s brain networks displayed only second-order patterns. When every word of the story was shuffled, this disrupted all but the lowest level (zero-order) patterns.

“The more finely the story was shuffled, the more the fractal structures of the network patterns were disrupted,” said first author Lucy Owen, a graduate student in psychological and brain sciences at Dartmouth. “Since the disruptions in those fractal patterns seemed directly linked with how well people could make sense of the story, this finding may provide clues about how our brain structures work together to understand what is happening in the narrative.”

The fractal network patterns were surprisingly similar across people: patterns from one group could be used to accurately estimate what part of the story another group was listening to.

The team also studied which brain structures were interacting to produce these fractal patterns. The results show that the smallest scale (first-order) interactions occurred in brain regions that process raw sounds. Second-order interactions linked these raw sounds with speech processing regions, and third-order interactions linked sound and speech areas with a network of visual processing regions. The largest-scale (fourth-order) interactions linked these auditory and visual sensory networks with brain structures that support high-level thinking. According to the researchers, when these networks organize at multiple scales, this may show how the brain processes raw sensory information into complex thought—from raw sounds, to speech, to visualization, to full-on understanding.

The researchers’ computational framework can also be applied to areas beyond neuroscience and the team has already begun using an analogous approach to explore interactions in stock prices and animal migration patterns.

Here’s a link to and a citation for the paper,

High-level cognition during story listening is reflected in high-order dynamic correlations in neural activity patterns by Lucy L. W. Owen, Thomas H. Chang & Jeremy R. Manning. Nature Communications volume 12, Article number: 5728 (2021) DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-25876-x Published: 30 September 2021

This paper is open access.

Let’s celebrate the International Day of Mathematics March 14, 2022 even if it is a little late

A March 14, 2022 UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) announcement (received via email) focuses on mathematics,

Despite the omnipresence of mathematics in our daily lives, in our phones, credit cards, cars etc., there may not be enough mathematicians to solve the complex challenges we face, from climate change to pandemics, a new UNESCO study finds.

Some 41% of the global population is at risk from flooding caused by tropical cyclones. Thanks to new mathematical models and better algorithms, the path of a tropical cyclone can now be predicted up to a week in advance.  In 2019, it could only be predicted five days in advance and, in the 1970s, just 36 hours ahead. Longer visibility gives municipal authorities precious additional time to plan the evacuation of populations in highly exposed areas.

This is just one of many case studies in Mathematics for Action, a new UNESCO publication released on 14 March to mark International Mathematics Day. “The study demonstrates why it makes sense for governments to include a mathematician on their team of scientific advisors”, says Christiane Rousseau of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Montréal in Canada, who led the development of the toolkit.  

Mathematical methods to design vaccines

“The COVID-19 pandemic has really brought mathematical modelling into the public eye”, she adds. “Two years ago, who would have thought that a term such as ‘flattening the curve’ would become part of the public lexicon?” Similarly, news stories referring to mathematical terms such as the basic reproduction rate (R0) of the virus or ‘herd immunity’ through mass vaccination have become regular features. Mathematical methods themselves have been used to design vaccines more efficiently and to model vaccine hesitancy as a social phenomenon.

But the utility of mathematics does not stop there. For Norbert Hounkonnou, President of the Network of African Science Academies, “the Mathematics for Action toolkit is a revolutionary policy-oriented tool. It showcases the decisive role of mathematics in contributing to solving the world’s most pressing challenges and in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals”.

One of these goals is to end poverty. The toolkit describes, for example, how researchers were able to compile poverty maps of 552 villages and communities in Senegal and identify areas in need of greater public investment, despite missing census data. By applying mathematical tools like machine learning algorithms (artificial intelligence), the researchers were able to establish the extent of poverty in specific areas. .

Scenarios for the future

How are the many services nature provides, such as freshwater, medicinal plants or crops to be priced? Two research studies in Mathematics for Action do just that by quantifying the value of ecosystem services and biodiversity of large estuaries in North America and Asia.

The toolkit describes how mathematical models enable the exploration of multiple “what-if” scenarios to inform the decision-making process. Scientists use climate models in combination with storylines to produce plausible alternative scenarios for the future.

“The shortage of quality mathematics teachers around the world is a threat to training a sufficient number of mathematicians and scientists capable of meeting the challenges of the contemporary world”, warn Merrilyn Goos and Anjum Halai, the two Vice-Presidents of the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction, two authors of the toolkit.

Read the toolkit Mathematics for action: supporting science-based decision-making

The International Day of Mathematics was proclaimed by UNESCO in 2019 to draw attention to the extensive contribution that mathematics makes to social progress and the plethora of vocations that mathematics offers to boys and girls.

Mathematics for Action: Supporting Science-Based Decision Making is a series of policy briefs produced by UNESCO, the Centre de recherches mathématiques of Canada, the International Mathematical Union, the International Science Council and their partners.

The Centre de recherches mathématiques (CRM) was the manager of the toolkit project, which was produced by a consortium composed of the:

African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS)

African Mathematical Union (AMU)

Centre de recherches mathématiques (CRM)

UNESCO Cat II centre CIMPA (Centre international de mathématiques pures et appliquées)

European Mathematical Society (EMS)

Institut des Sciences mathématiques et de leurs interactions (INSMI) au CNRS [Centre national de la recherche scientifique]

Institut de valorisation des données (IVADO), Canada

International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI)

International Mathematical Union (IMU)

International Science Council (ISC)

I just noticed that March 14, 2022 is also Pi Day (from its Wikipedia entry; Note: Links have been removed),

Pi Day is an annual celebration of the mathematical constant π (pi). Pi Day is observed on March 14 (3/14 in the month/day format) since 3, 1, and 4 are the first three significant figures of π.[2][3] It was founded in 1988 by Larry Shaw, an employee of the Exploratorium. Celebrations often involve eating pie or holding pi recitation competitions. In 2009, the United States House of Representatives supported the designation of Pi Day.[4] UNESCO’s 40th General Conference designated Pi Day as the International Day of Mathematics in November 2019.[5][6] Alternative dates for the holiday include July 22[alpha 1] (22/7, an approximation of π) and June 28 (6.28, an approximation of 2π or tau).

As you can see from the entry, it’s not coincidence that Pi Day and the International Day of Mathematics are celebrated on the same day.

Orca-shaped puzzle pieces in puzzle for orca conservation

H/t to Rebecca Bollwitt’s Miss604.com’s January 26, 2022 posting about a puzzle being used to help raise funds for the Raincoast Conservation Foundation. ($20 from each puzzle sold will be donated to the foundation.)

[puzzle image downloaded from https://www.puzzle-lab.com/collections/new-puzzles/products/rise-wood-jigsaw-puzzle]

I am fascinated by the orca-shaped pieces. Here’s more about the puzzle from the January 26, 2022 Miss604 posting (Note: A link has been removed),

The Rise puzzle is unique in its design, even for the innovative Puzzle Lab. It features 206 identical orca-shaped pieces in an Escher-style tessellation pattern. The technology in Puzzle Lab draws from cofounder Andrew Robev’s knowledge of parametric, computational, and generative design, involving writing custom computer algorithms to generate highly complex geometry and digital fabrication (using robotic tools such as a laser cutter, 3D printer, or CNC router). 

The January 26, 2022 Miss604 posting features an image of the whole puzzle along with a succinct description of the project and the people behind it.

Puzzle Lab?

According to Puzzle Lab’s About Us page, they make puzzles you can feel good about,

Puzzle Lab was founded by Tinka Robev and Andrew Azzopardi, who met studying architecture at the University of Waterloo in 2012.

The couple moved to Victoria, BC in 2014 where they started Studio Robazzo, a multidisciplinary design & branding agency.

During the coronavirus pandemic, they came up with the idea to launch a puzzle company to encourage more people to get off their devices and into the real world. Sharon Parker joined them and Puzzle Lab was born in the fall of 2020.

Since its founding, Puzzle Lab has been dedicated to fabricating heirloom-quality puzzles as well as providing a platform for talented Canadian artists.

a next-level puzzling experience

Our heirloom-quality wood puzzles merge technology, art, and nature.

We start by curating stunning graphics and local art. Next, the wacky puzzle pieces are created in our digital laboratory with custom computer algorithms. Then, they’re laser cut at our studio in the heart of Victoria, BC.

Each puzzle design has a unique cut pattern, so you won’t find the same piece twice!

You won’t find the same shape twice? it seems an exception has been made for Rise.

Artwork

The company solicits artwork for its puzzles (from the Artist Submission page),

Winter 2021-2022

Please fill out the form below to submit your artwork, and/or share this page with artists in your community to help us spread the word!This is a paid opportunity: all selected artists receive ongoing royalties on the puzzles sold using their licensed artwork(s).

The Rise artwork is by Art by Di,

Beauty of nature is the key inspiration behind Di’s contemporary west coast acrylic paintings. With a focus on light, color and movement Di seeks to reduce the endless detail of life into simple form and palette, allowing viewers’ imaginations to fill in details of time and place. …

… The artist lives and works on Bowen Island, Canada.

Filling in the last pieces

You can find more of Puzzle Lab’s work on their Instagram account. Should you be interested in purchasing a Rise wood jigsaw puzzle,

Strength. Resilience. Recovery. ‘Rise’ is a celebration of life – a celebration of Howe Sound. It is a celebration of cleaner air, cleaner water, cleaner land. Lose yourself in this enchanting west coast scene as you take on a uniquely challenging wood jigsaw puzzle composed of just over 200 identical orca-shaped pieces seamlessly tiled in an Escher-style tessellation pattern.

This exciting Puzzle with a Purpose supports the wildlife conservation efforts of the Raincoast Conservation Foundation.

It is $100.

Again, the organization receiving the $20 donation from the purchase price is the Raincoast Conservation Foundation.

Proximal Fields from September 8 – 12, 2021 and a peek into the international art/sci/tech scene

Toronto’s (Canada) Art/Sci Salon (also known as, Art Science Salon) sent me an August 26, 2021 announcement (received via email) of an online show with a limited viewing period (BTW, nice play on words with the title echoing the name of the institution mentioned in the first sentence),

PROXIMAL FIELDS

The Fields Institute was closed to the public for a long time. Yet, it
has not been empty. Peculiar sounds and intriguing silences, the flows
of the few individuals and the janitors occasional visiting the building
made it surprisingly alive. Microorganisms, dust specs and other
invisible guests populated undisturbed the space while the humans were
away. The building is alive. We created site specific installations
reflecting this condition: Elaine Whittaker and her poet collaborators
take us to a journey of the microbes living in our proximal spaces. Joel
Ong and his collaborators have recorded space data in the building: the
result is an emergent digital organism. Roberta Buiani and Kavi
interpret the venue as an organism which can be taken outside on a
mobile gallery.

PROXIMAL FIELDS will be visible  September 8-12 2021 at

https://ars.electronica.art/newdigitaldeal/en/proximal-fields/

it [sic] is part of Ars Electronica Garden LEONARDO LASER [Anti]disciplinary Topographies

https://ars.electronica.art/newdigitaldeal/en/antidisciplinary-topographies/

see [sic] a teaser here:

https://youtu.be/AYxlvLnYSdE

With: Elaine Whittaker, Joel Ong, Nina Czegledy, Roberta Buiani, Sachin
Karghie, Ryan Martin, Racelar Ho, Kavi.
Poetry: Maureen Hynes, Sheila Stewart

Video: Natalie Plociennik

This event is one of many such events being held for Ars Electronica 2021 festival.

For anyone who remembers back to my May 3, 2021 posting (scroll down to the relevant subhead; a number of events were mentioned), I featured a show from the ArtSci Salon community called ‘Proximal Spaces’, a combined poetry reading and bioart experience.

Many of the same artists and poets seem to have continued working together to develop more work based on the ‘proximal’ for a larger international audience.

International and local scene details (e.g., same show? what is Ars Electronica? etc.)

As you may have noticed from the announcement, there are a lot of different institutions involved.

Local: Fields Institute and ArtSci Salon

The Fields Institute is properly known as The Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences and is located at the University of Toronto. Here’s more from their About Us webpage,

Founded in 1992, the Fields Institute was initially located at the University of Waterloo. Since 1995, it has occupied a purpose-built building on the St. George Campus of the University of Toronto.

The Institute is internationally renowned for strengthening collaboration, innovation, and learning in mathematics and across a broad range of disciplines. …

The Fields Institute is named after the Canadian mathematician John Charles Fields (1863-1932). Fields was a pioneer and visionary who recognized the scientific, educational, and economic value of research in the mathematical sciences. Fields spent many of his early years in Berlin and, to a lesser extent, in Paris and Göttingen, the principal mathematical centres of Europe of that time. These experiences led him, after his return to Canada, to work for the public support of university research, which he did very successfully. He also organized and presided over the 1924 meeting of the International Congress of Mathematicians in Toronto. This quadrennial meeting was, and still is, the major meeting of the mathematics world.

There is no Nobel Prize in mathematics, and Fields felt strongly that there should be a comparable award to recognize the most outstanding current research in mathematics. With this in mind, he established the International Medal for Outstanding Discoveries in Mathematics, which, contrary to his personal directive, is now known as the Fields Medal. Information on Fields Medal winners can be found through the International Mathematical Union, which chooses the quadrennial recipients of the prize.

Fields’ name was given to the Institute in recognition of his seminal contributions to world mathematics and his work on behalf of high level mathematical scholarship in Canada. The Institute aims to carry on the work of Fields and to promote the wider use and understanding of mathematics in Canada.

The relationship between the Fields Institute and the ArtSci Salon is unclear to me. This can be found under Programs and Activities on the Fields Institute website,

2020-2021 ArtSci Salon

Description

ArtSci Salon consists of a series of semi-informal gatherings facilitating discussion and cross-pollination between science, technology, and the arts. ArtSci Salon started in 2010 as a spin-off of Subtle Technologies Festival to satisfy increasing demands by the audience attending the Festival to have a more frequent (monthly or bi-monthly) outlet for debate and information sharing across disciplines. In addition, it responds to the recent expansion in the GTA [Greater Toronto Area] area of a community of scientists and artists increasingly seeking collaborations across disciplines to successfully accomplish their research projects and questions.

For more details, visit our blog.

Sign up to our mailing list here.

For more information please contact:

Stephen Morris: smorris@physics.utoronto.ca

Roberta Buiani: rbuiani@gmail.com

We are pleased to announce our upcoming March 2021 events (more details are in the schedule below):

Ars Electronica

It started life as a Festival for Art, Technology and Society in 1979 in Linz, Austria. Here’s a little more from their About webpage,

… Since September 18, 1979, our world has changed radically, and digitization has covered almost all areas of our lives. Ars Electronica’s philosophy has remained the same over the years. Our activities are always guided by the question of what new technologies mean for our lives. Together with artists, scientists, developers, designers, entrepreneurs and activists, we shed light on current developments in our digital society and speculate about their manifestations in the future. We never ask what technology can or will be able to do, but always what it should do for us. And we don’t try to adapt to technology, but we want the development of technology to be oriented towards us. Therefore, our artistic research always focuses on ourselves, our needs, our desires, our feelings.

They have a number of initiatives in addition to the festival. The next festival, A New Digital Deal, runs from September 8 – 12, 2021 (Ars Electronica 2021). Here’s a little more from the festival webpage,

Ars Electronica 2021, the festival for art, technology and society, will take place from September 8 to 12. For the second time since 1979, it will be a hybrid event that includes exhibitions, concerts, talks, conferences, workshops and guided tours in Linz, Austria, and more than 80 other locations around the globe.

Leonardo; The International Society for Arts, Sciences and Technology

Ars Electronica and Leonardo; The International Society for Arts, Sciences and Technology (ISAST) cooperate on projects but they are two different entities. Here’s more from the About LEONARDO webpage,

Fearlessly pioneering since 1968, Leonardo serves as THE community forging a transdisciplinary network to convene, research, collaborate, and disseminate best practices at the nexus of arts, science and technology worldwide. Leonardo’ serves a network of transdisciplinary scholars, artists, scientists, technologists and thinkers, who experiment with cutting-edge, new approaches, practices, systems and solutions to tackle the most complex challenges facing humanity today.

As a not-for-profit 501(c)3 enterprising think tank, Leonardo offers a global platform for creative exploration and collaboration reaching tens of thousands of people across 135 countries. Our flagship publication, Leonardo, the world’s leading scholarly journal on transdisciplinary art, anchors a robust publishing partnership with MIT Press; our partnership with ASU [Arizona State University] infuses educational innovation with digital art and media for lifelong learning; our creative programs span thought-provoking events, exhibits, residencies and fellowships, scholarship and social enterprise ventures.

I have a description of Leonardo’s LASER (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous), from my March 22, 2021 posting (the Garden comes up next),

Here’s a description of the LASER talks from the Leonardo/ISAST LASER Talks event page,

“… a program of international gatherings that bring artists, scientists, humanists and technologists together for informal presentations, performances and conversations with the wider public. The mission of LASER is to encourage contribution to the cultural environment of a region by fostering interdisciplinary dialogue and opportunities for community building.”

To be specific it’s Ars Electronica Garden LEONARDO LASER and this is one of the series being held as part of the festival (A Digital New Deal). Here’s more from the [Anti]disciplinary Topographies ‘garden’ webpage,

Culturing transnational dialogue for creative hybridity

Leonardo LASER Garden gathers our global network of artists, scientists, humanists and technologists together in a series of hybrid formats addressing the world’s most pressing issues. Animated by the theme of a “new digital deal” and grounded in the UN Sustainability Goals, Leonardo LASER Garden cultivates our values of equity and inclusion by elevating underrepresented voices in a wide-ranging exploration of global challenges, digital communities and placemaking, space, networks and systems, the digital divide – and the impact of interdisciplinary art, science and technology discourse and collaboration.

Dovetailing with the launch of LASER Linz, this asynchronous multi-platform garden will highlight the best of the Leonardo Network (spanning 47 cities worldwide) and our transdisciplinary community. In “Extraordinary Times Call for Extraordinary Vision: Humanizing Digital Culture with the New Creativity Agenda & the UNSDGs [United Nations Sustainable Development Goals],” Leonardo/ISAST CEO Diana Ayton-Shenker presents our vision for shaping our global future. This will be followed by a Leonardo Community Lounge open to the general public, with the goal of encouraging contributions to the cultural environments of different regions through transnational exchange and community building.

Getting back to the beginning you can view Proximal Fields from September 8 – 12, 2021 as part of the Ars Electonica 2021 festival, specifically, the ‘garden’ series.

ETA September 8, 2021: There’s a newly posted (on the Fields Institute webspace) and undated notice/article “ArtSci Salon’s Proximal Fields debuts at the Ars Electronica Festival,” which includes an interview with members of the Proximal Fields team.

May 12, 2021 webcast: a solution to the ‘matchmaker’s dilemma’ (a mathematical problem)

Canada’s Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI) is hosting a May 12, 2021 webcast according to their May 7, 2021 announcement (received via email),

A Solution to the Stable Marriage Problem
WEDNESDAY, MAY 12 [2021] at 7 pm ET

Imagine a matchmaker who wishes to arrange opposite-sex marriages in a dating pool of single men and single women (there’s a mathematical reason for the heteronormative framework, which will be explained).

The matchmaker’s goal is to pair every man and woman off into couples that will form happy, stable marriages – so perfectly matched that nobody would rather run off with someone from a different pairing. 

In the real world, things don’t work out so nicely. But could they work out like that if the matchmaker had a computer algorithm to calculate every single factor of compatibility? 

In her Perimeter Public Lecture, mathematician Emily Riehl (Johns Hopkins University) will examine that question, its sexist implications, an algorithmic solution, and real-world applications.

There is a bit more about Emily Riehl on the event page for ‘A Solution to the Stable Marriage Problem’,

An associate professor of mathematics at Johns Hopkins University, Riehl has published more than 20 papers and two books on higher category theory and homotopy theory. She studied at Harvard and Cambridge and earned her PhD at the University of Chicago.  

In addition to her research, Riehl is active in promoting access to the world of mathematics. She is a co-founder of Spectra: the Association for LGBT Mathematicians, and has presented on mathematical proof and queer epistemology as part of several conferences and lecture series. 

Tune in on Wednesday, May 12 [2021] at 7 pm ET for the premiere of Riehl’s lecture, and subscribe to Perimeter’s YouTube channel for more fascinating science videos.  

How do viruses and physics go together? Find out at a Nov. 4, 2020 Perimeter Institute (PI) virtual lecture

I got this announcement from an Oct. 29, 2020 Perimeter Institute (PI) Emmy Noether newsletter (received via email),

Catherne Beauchemin

A Physicist’s Adventures in Virology WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 4 at 7 pm ET [4 pm PT]

In recent years, there has been a rise in cynicism about many traditionally well-respected institutions – science, academia, news reporting, and even the concepts of experts and expertise more generally. Many people’s primary – or only – exposure to science is through biological or health science, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In health research, rising cynicism has spawned the anti-vaccine movement, and a growing reliance on advice from peer networks rather than experts. In part, such movements are fuelled by several examples of provably false, so-called “scientific results,” coming about either through fraud or incompetence. While skepticism is crucial to science, cynicism rooted in a lack of trust can devalue scientific contributions.

In her lecture webcast, physicist Catherine Beauchemin will explore the erosion of trust in health research, presenting examples from influenza and COVID-19. …

I went to the A Physicist’s Adventures in Virology event and livestrream page to find this,

Two essential ingredients of the scientific method are skepticism and independent confirmation – the ability to glean for oneself whether an established theory or a new hypothesis is true or false. But not everyone has the capacity to perform the experiments to obtain such a confirmation.

Consider, for example, the costs of constructing your own Large Hadron Collider, or your ability as a non-expert to critically read and understand a scientific publication. In practice, acceptance of scientific theories is more often based on trust than on independent confirmation. When that trust is eroded, issues emerge.

Catherine Beauchemin is a Professor of Physics at Ryerson University and a Deputy Program Director in the RIKEN Interdisciplinary Theoretical and Mathematical Sciences Program in Japan. For the last 18 years, she has been developing mathematical and computational descriptions of how viruses spread from cell to cell, a field she calls “virophysics.”

In her November 4 [2020] Perimeter Public Lecture webcast, Beauchemin will highlight some of the issues that have eroded trust in health research, presenting examples from influenza and COVID-19. She will show why she believes many of these issues have their root in the fact that hypotheses in health research are formulated as words rather than mathematical expressions – and why a dose of physics may be just the prescription we need.

Enjoy!