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From Mathematics to Art: an interview with Tuomas Tuomiranta

Mathematicians know that mathematics is beautiful, but they have hard time explaining to others why is it so. In fact, most of the time they give up on this task. My friend Tuomas Tuomiranta hasn’t. I met Tuomas at the University of Helsinki when we both studied mathematics around 10 years ago. Several years later it came to me as a surprise to find out that he became a visual artist! In 2010 Tuomas had created simulations of liquid dynamics based on the Navier-Stoke’s and turned them into artistic animations. Another one was based on the theory of conformal mappings in the complex plane – a common topic at the University of Helsinki. Some links:

Tuomas Tuomiranta was Read more

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Mathemat-ART-ical Fract-ART Augumented with Deep Learning

I am fascinated by the combinations of mathematics and art for several reasons; one reason is that it is so difficult to show the beauty of mathematics to non-experts. As a mathematician I am often frustrated that my work cannot be understood by many people that are important to me. Using mathematics to create Read more

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On Fractal Music, Fourier Analysis and Fat Cantor Sets.

Two weeks ago Adam Neely published a mind blowing video where he introduces fractal music. This is a perfect topic for my blog as well, because it is a mixture between science and art, and this is what Bats and Seahorses is mainly after (apart from the related topic of how to lead a creative life whether in science or art). Before jumping into mathematcs, first of all, here is the video:

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Knot ornaments out of Penrose tiling

Knots generated out of the Penrose tiling

(Scroll down for more pics!)

I played around a little bit with generating the Penrose tiling and especially how to get knot ornaments out of it. I used algorithm explained at preshing.com as a basis. It generates the Penrose tiling by subdividing triangles. It has two types of triangles which are labeled red and blue and they are subdivided like this:

Image from preshing.com

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Ozora lecture submission

I submitted a proposal for a lecture to the Ozora festival. The lecture is supposed to cover the ways in which the contemporary cognitive science is able to tackle age old questions in the philosophy of mind. The exact content of the lecture is not yet fixed, but the range of topics includes:

  • What does cognitive science have to say about the Platonism/non-Platonism debate, i.e. do abstract concepts, such as mathematical ones, posses existence independent of humans or cognitive systems in general?
  • What can neuroscience tell us about the nature of experience, meaning and consciousness? Is having a powerful enough fMRI brain scanning techniques enough to understand the relationship between the mind and the body? Even if not, how can it help?
  • What is the enactivist-representationalist debate in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science, and how is it related to meditation, embodiment, even Buddhism and spirituality?
  • How can artificial intelligence, in particular artificial neural networks illuminate our understanding of meaning, emergence and consciousness? What are the limitations and the possibilities of the present day AI systems? What is the moral and ethical side of developing thinking (and feeling?) machines?

An inspirational animation with text from Rosch, E., Varela, F., & Thompson, E. (1991). The embodied mind. Cognitive Science and Human Experience:

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The Forthcoming Movie Beauty and the Beast Sucks

UPDATE AFTER I SAW THE MOVIE: Are you kidding me? The beast has a six-pack and stuff. He is a hot macho who can jump from a roof-top to roof-top. In fact, when he transforms to the prince, he becomes less attractive. Even the beauty says: “you could grow a beard”! She says it to the prince after the transformation!!!!!! She misses the way the BEAST looked.  And that’s natural! Because he was cool and handsome. OKAY, his mouth was kind of ugly. I give them that. But hey… ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

The translation of the original story by  Madame de Villeneuve does not contain precise description of the Beast, but it tells so much that the beauty  “made a great effort to hide her horror” upon saluting him. The Russian version of the story Аленький цветочек contains the following description:

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Finnish Artist Makes Progress in Geometry

When I met Sir Roger Penrose at the centenary conference of Alan Turing in Manchester in 2012 I told him that Penrose tiling is now featuring as a tiling of Keskuskatu, a central street in Helsinki, he was upset. He said “They should always ask me before they use it!” I was a little dumbfounded. “Can you show a picture?” he continued. I googled it with my smart phone and showed him:

He stared at it for 30 seconds and said “It seems alright.” Sir Roger Penrose is a physicist, mathematician and a philosopher of mind. His ideas are often controversial. He believes that Gödel’s incompleteness implies that the human mind cannot be simulated by a Turing machine which in turn would imply that the human mind radically depends on quantum mechanics which in turn… requires revision according to Penrose, who doesn’t believe in the Schrödinger’s cat. Despite being controversial, he has written numerous books which are excellent at popularizing mathematics, physics and philosophy of mind thereby attracting numerous students to these areas whether they agree with him or not.

[EDIT: I have now heard that Penrose was asked for the permission about Keskuskatu and he gave one. Apparently he either didn’t remember that or he didn’t realize it was the same thing.]

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I had an exceptional amount of travel in the last couple of months. My first destination was London and I want to mention the exhibition “Colour and Vision” they have at the Natural History Museum in South Kensington – it is still open for several weeks, until November 6th. I went there with my friend’s four year old son while my friend was at work. Read more