Minimal surfaces - artists' views

Collaboration between mathematicians and artists. Funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Leverhulme Trust. July-October 2019

Minimal surfaces – artists’ views

A collaboration between mathematicians and artists (University News)

Funded by the Public Engagement Scheme of the Institutional Strategic Support Fund and the Leverhulme Trust through the International Network “Minimal surfaces: integrable systems and visualisation” (m:iv).

The international research network “Minimal surfaces: integrable systems and visualisation”, lead by Dr Leschke, works on open problems on minimal surfaces.  Physically, minimal surfaces arise for example when withdrawing a wire loop from soapy water.

Artists were asked to respond to the mathematical research that the network is undertaking: the aim of the project is to investigate how modern research in mathematics, its beauty and its importance, can be communicated to a broader audience. In collaboration with Mathematicians and Artists we worked to find models for demonstrating how mathematicians work, what problems they work on, which methods are used and what results they obtain. In the area of surface theory, computer graphics already allow to show images of the work, however, the deeper beauty of mathematical surface often appears for a mathematician from its context in mathematics: the question we want to address in this project is how to communicate this deeper understanding of mathematics to non-experts.

We used the topic of the “Finite Topology conjecture”, an open problem in minimal surface theory, for our collaboration; during the residency the artists achieved an understanding of the contents of the conjecture, why it is believed to be true, how mathematicians approach the question and what the obstructions are to fully answer the question. The first outcomes of this ongoing project will be showcased by Lee Allatson and Jenny Hibberd at the

Artists’ performance evening, 5th September 2019, 5.30pm, at the Attenborough Arts Centre (Jenny Hibberd and Lee Boyd Allatson)

A second artist performance evening featuring all three artists will be hosted at the Henry Wellcome Atrium and Lecture Theatre on Thursday 3rd October 2019 from 6pm - 8pm



miv art event octCollaboration between mathematicians and artists. Funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Leverhulme Trust. 

July-October 2019



Here is a link to Chloe Aligianni page on the maths behind the performance:

f: countless deformations

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