Five prints from Evan Baden‘s photo series The Illuminati are hanging now through January 19 in the 2nd floor galleries at the Wisconsin Union. The idea is pretty simple: photos of young people by the light of their computing devices. But they’re beautiful. Whoever curates photography at the Union is doing a very good job.
Just got in the mail a coffee-table book from PUP, which will appeal to you if you like looking at big photographic portraits of mathematicians while you drink your coffee. I do! The pictures, by Mariana Cook, are agreeable, but what really sells the book for me are the short essays that accompany the photos.
At least two of these would make good openings for novels. Pictured here, Ed Nelson:
I had the great good fortune to be the youngest of four sons with a seven-year gap between my brothers and me, born into a warm and loving family. This was in Georgia, in the depths of the Depression, where my father organized interracial conferences. He was the sixth Methodist minister in lineal descent. While driving he would amuse himself by mentally representing the license plate numbers of cars as the sum of four squares.
And Kate Okikiolu:
My mother is British, from a family with a trade-union background and a central interest in class struggle; she met my father, who is Nigerian, while both were students of mathematics in London. My father was a very talented mathematician, and after my parents married, he went on to a position in the mathematics department of the University of East Anglia. While I was growing up, the elementary school I attended was extremely ethnically homogeneous. I was unable to escape from heavy issues concerning race, which my mother always explained in a political context. My parents separated after my father resigned his university position to focus on his inventions, and my mother then finished her education and became a school mathematics teacher.
Less novelistic but very keenly observed is this, from the Vicomte Deligne, on the role of intuition in geometry:
You have more than one picture for each mathematical object. Each of them is wrong but we know how each is wrong. That helps us determine what should be true.
If you’re in Memorial Union, take a few minutes to see her exhibition, Portrait of My Father’s Dairyland, which is hanging across from the Lakefront on Langdon food court through November 11. Beautiful and effective portraits of Wittenwyler’s hometown of Monticello, WI, where the dairy way of life is vanishing and there’s nothing in sight to replace it. If you can think of nothing but the upcoming election, she also has a great gallery of campaign shots here. Below:
The television at the Quality Inn broadcasts Hillary Clinton being interviewed by the local media the morning of the South Carolina Democratic Primary, Newberry, South Carolina, January 26, 2008. (Image © Shana Wittenwyler.)
From the front page of today’s Badger Herald, “First ‘State of the ASM’ not well-attended.” Subtitle: “Student government chair unsure whether event was publicized.” Caption: “Members of the Associated Students of Madison prepare to discuss the “State of the ASM” with audience members Tuesday at Chamberlin Hall.”
Our friend Becky McKenzie has an exhibition of her photographs up this month at the Sunroom Cafe, on State Street just a couple of blocks from campus. Most of them are magnificently colored closeups of plants and how-did-she-get-that shots of insects, and all are gorgeous. Swing by, enjoy a Sun Scone, and appreciate some art — all for sale at reasonable prices! (She does portraiture, too, even if you’re not a plant or an insect.)