Beyond the Great 96

This is the second of two posts about papers that will appear at the Bridges 2021 conference. This paper is related to Islamic geometric patterns, and was co-authored with John Berglund. In this case I played a supporting role. The core ideas are very much due to John; I contributed …

Heesch Numbers of Unmarked Polyforms

After a few years of not writing about the subject here, I’m happy to offer an update on Heesch numbers! If you want to save time, you can skip right to the paper I wrote, or experiment with the associated dataset. Back in 2017, I wrote a series of four …

Marshmallow Candle Snuffer

In addition to custom socks, which I wrote about previously, I also created a new 3D printed object as a holiday gift, the first 3D printing I’ve done in a while. In the late autumn, we reach the time of year when it’s dark outside as we sit down to …

Holiday socks!

Let’s face it, socks have an undeserved bad reputation as holiday presents. In my family, we all enjoy giving and receiving socks around Christmas. Our collective attitude is well expressed by this old tweet (if you like, you can replace Calendar Age with Level of Sock Enlightenment): For a few …

Swirled Series: The Result

Early in November, Daniel Piker (aka @KangarooPhysics) suggested that a group of people could get together online, and each create a short segment of animation, arranged so that all the start and end frames are identical. We could then assemble all the segments into one long loop and enjoy each …

Swirled Series

This fall, as a creative outlet during a challenging teaching term (and as a distraction from the general mess of the world), I began posting weekly looping animations on Twitter, under the hashtag #swirlysquaresunday. The idea was to find creative expression under a tight set of aesthetic constraints: a looping …

The Metaphysics of Speed Limits

I’m teaching a first-year programming course this fall. It’s a new online-native offering of an existing course, which I’ve been developing over the past couple of years (I hope to write more about this later). Early in the course I introduce Boolean values and conditional evaluation (we use the language …

Mathematical Animated GIFs

I’m freshly back from a weekend in Toronto, where I was participating in the Winter meeting of the Canadian Mathematical Society. I don’t normally attend math conferences, but this time around I was invited to a session entitled “The Art of Mathematics”, and it seemed natural to join in. As …

Temptris

One day I was musing over Atari’s classic vector-based arcade game Tempest, and for some reason I decided it would be amusing to combine it with Tetris. The idea should have died there and then: these two games don’t belong together, and the result would a hot mess. But then …