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Near Misses in Science and Art

Speaker: Craig S. Kaplan

Date: April 4th

Time: 4 pm

Room: LH3058 (Lazaridis Hall, Math Boardroom) & Hybrid

Abstract:  I use the term "near miss" to refer loosely to constructions that ought to be impossible from a
mathematical perspective, but that can nevertheless be constructed as real-world objects, using materials and methods that tolerate (or even conceal) the discrepancy. In this talk, I introduce the notion of near misses with a few curated examples. I then offer a tour of near misses that arise naturally in mathematics, art, music, and science, culminating in a polyhedral near miss that was found to correspond to a structure in organic chemistry.

Bio: Dr. Kaplan is an Associate Professor in the School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo. He is interested in a broad range of interdisciplinary topics, with a particular focus on interactions between mathematics and art. He uses mathematical ideas to create tools and algorithms that generate ornamental patterns, or that empower artists and designers. His work frequently incorporates knowledge from computer graphics, classical and computational geometry, human-computer interaction, graph theory, symmetry and tiling theory, and perceptual psychology.

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