MIT Faculty Newsletter  
Vol. XVI No. 5
April / May 2004
FPC Statement on
Representation of Minorities
Leadership, Management,
and Education at MIT
Update on Women Faculty in the
Sloan School of Management
Update on Women Faculty in the
School of Architecture and Planning
The MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography and Applied Ocean Science and Engineering
The Picower Center for
Learning and Memory
MIT's Not-So-Green New Buildings
Mauled Ilusionist Goes Home
Haystack Observatory
The Changing Environment of Scholarly Communication: Challenges and Opportunities for Faculty
Security on the MIT Campus
Beyond the Anecdotes
My Experience with the
Artist-in-Residence Program
Faculty Satisfaction
Printable Version

My Experience with the Artist-in-Residence Program

Erik D. Demaine

Back in November I had the pleasure of hosting sculptor/mathematician/computer scientist George W. Hart through the MIT Office of the Arts' Artist-in-Residence Program. This article describes my experiences with both this residence in particular and the residency program in general.

George Hart is a research professor in computer science at SUNY Stony Brook. His sculpture involves the interplay between art and mathematics, particularly in the context of geometry. During his week-long residence, George gave two excellent talks, the first for a general audience and the second for those interested in the algorithms and mathematics behind his sculpture. Then came the most exciting part of the residency: group assembly of a new sculpture.

The group assembly involved about 50 people from the MIT community, largely students, holding on to 30 pieces of laser-cut wood and trying to arrange the pieces into a symmetric 30-inch ball of interlocking pieces. Beforehand, everyone built their own six-inch paper model of the same sculpture to build intuition about the form. It was an exciting three-hour event that challenged the geometric insight of many of the students. Overall I think the residence served as a good illustration of the exciting connections between art and mathematics.

The Artist-in-Residence Program co-supports many such residencies, enabling professional artists in all disciplines to work with MIT students and faculty in both curricular and co-curricular settings. Residencies range from three days to a semester. George Hart's residency was department-based, meaning that I shared the costs through my own grant. The deadline for the next round of applications will be in February 2005. I encourage you to apply!

For more information, see (Artist-in-Residence Program) and (George Hart's residency).

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