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IFF Directors Talks

IFF Directors Talks 2012
IFF Directors Talks 2011
IFF Directors Talks 2010
IFF Directors Talks 2009


Previous IFF Lectures

Exhibition Opening and Fractal Unveiling
Doheny Library, University of Southern California
Thursday, September 20, 2012 @ 57pm

A Lecture by Ryan and Trevor Oakes
Sat. September 22, 2012 @ 68pm

Theoretical and Practical Explorations of Space

@ Hayward Gallery, London
June 12–14, 2012

IFF Director Margaret Wertheim speaks at Art Center College of Design
June 22, 2011 @ 7pm
With Dr. Jerry Schubel, President and CEO, Aquarium of the Pacific

Captain Charles Moore Talks About Plastic Trash
[IFF-L22] Saturday Jan 17, 2009

IFF Director Margaret Wertheim
Neuroscience Discussions at the LA Public Library

[IFF-L21] October 2 + November 10, 2008

Seeing Anew [IFF-L20]
A lecture by Trevor and Ryan Oakes
at Machine Project Sunday, June 24 @ 7pm

The Logic Alphabet of Shea Zelleweger[IFF-L19]
A discussion with the IFF and Dr. Shea Zelleweger
at Foshay Masonic Lodge Saturday, March 3 @ 5pm

Structural Considerations of the Business Card Sponge[IFF-L17]
By Dr. Jeannine Mosely
Sunday, September 10 @ 8pm

The Insect Trilogy
@ Telic Arts Exchange
How Flies Fly [IFF-L14]
By Dr Michael Dickinson
The Ecology of a Termite's Gut [IFF-L15]
By Dr Jared Leadbetter
What is it Like to be a Spider? [IFF-L16]
By Dr Simon Pollard

Where the Wild Things Are 2:
A Talk About Knot Theory
By Ken Millett
at The Drawing Center in NY.

Where the Wild Things Are 2
by Ken Millett
at the University of California, Santa Barbara

Things That Think:
A hands-on history of physical computation devices.

by Nick Gessler [IFF-L12]

Where the Wild Things Are:
A Talk about Knot Theory

by Ken Millett [IFF-L11]
at The Foshay Masonic Lodge (Culver City)

Crocheting the Hyperbolic Plane:
A conversation on non-euclidean geometry and feminine handicraft

by Dr. Daina Taimina and IFF Director Margaret Wertheim [IFF-L10]

Darwinism on a Desktop:
Sodaplay and the Evolution of a Digital World

by Ed Burton [IFF-L9]

The Logic Alphabet
by Christine Wertheim [IFF-L8]

Why Things Don't Fall Down
A Talk About Tensegrities
by Robert Connelly [IFF-L7]

The Art and Science of Child’s Play

By Norman Brosterman [IFF-L6]

Crocheting the Hyperbolic Plane [IFF-L5]
A Talk by David Henderson and Daina Taimina

The Mathematics of Paper Folding [IFF-L4]
by Robert Lang

The Physics of Snowflakes [IFF-L3]
by Kenneth Libbrecht

Crocheting the Hyperbolic Plane [IFF-L2]
by Daina Taimina and David Henderson

The Figure That Stands Behind Figures:
Mosaics Of The Mind
by Robert Kaplan


Previous Events

Crochet Hyperbolic Workshop
Proteus Gowanus gallery, Brooklyn, NY

Hyperbolic Crochet Workshop:
a celebration of feminine handicraft and higher geometry and a homage to the disappearing wonder of coral reefs.

at The Institute For Figuring – Special Collections

A workshop on crocheting the hyperbolic plane.
at the Velaslavasay Panorama in Los Angeles.


Where the Wild Things Are 2:
A Talk About Knot Theory
By Ken Millett

In collaboration with Cabinet magazine,
the IFF presents a lecture

at The Drawing Center in NY.

Thursday March 2 at 7:00pm

For reservations please go to Cabinet’s website
An interview with Dr Millett is also featured in the current issue of Cabinet (#20).

In mathematical lore, a topologist is a person who can’t tell the difference between a coffee cup and a donut, both objects being topologically the same. Of the many things topologists strive to categorize, one of the more enigmatic is knots. Though knotting is one of humanity’s oldest and most widespread activities, being documented in almost every culture on earth, at first glance it seems an unlikely subject for the formalisms of mathematics. But at the end of the nineteenth century mathematicians began to classify these twisted and braided forms, leading to a vast taxonomy of the species, whose members include the unknot, ideal knots, tame knots and wild knots.

In this lecture, Dr. Ken Millett, a leading knot theorist and professor of mathematics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, will discuss the history, theory, and taxonomy of knots. As mathematicians have strived to categorize knots they have developed a wide range of techniques for representing and diagramming these enigmatic forms; Dr Millett will explore the diversity of these methods which capture the logic of knotty structures in images at once visually striking and rigorously informed. Today, the insights of knot theory are being bought to bear on understanding the structure of macromolecules and to fundamental issues in theoretical physics, including string theory.

The event will include hands-on activities making knots and attempting to answer such questions as how much rope is required to make a specific knot, and how can we determine if two seemingly disparate knots might really be the same.

Dr Kenneth Millett is a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In the 1980’s he was involved in the discovery of several classes of “knot invariants,” polynomial equations that help mathematicians to categorize knots, and he participated in the development of topological quantum field theory. Millett is an authority on polygonal modeling of knots and is a leading researcher investigating the spatial characteristics of knotted materials. He is currently working on applying knot invariants to questions arising in molecular biology, including the structure of DNA. At the other end of the scale, models arising from these methods may also be used to study solar storms.
Images courtesy of Rob Scharein and Ken Millett.