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The Seduction of Curves: The Lines of Beauty That Connect Mathematics, Art and The Nude Allan McRobie

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Monday 13th Nov 2017, 05.00pm to 06.00pm
Mathematical Institute, Andrew Wiles Building, University of Oxford, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road, Oxford

There is a deep connection between the stability of oil rigs, the bending of light during gravitational lensing and the act of life drawing. To understand each, we must understand how we view curved surfaces. We are familiar with the language of straight-line geometry – of squares, rectangles, hexagons - but curves also have a language – of folds, cusps and swallowtails - that few of us know.

Allan will explain how the key to understanding the language of curves is René Thom’s Catastrophe Theory, and how – remarkably – the best place to learn that language is perhaps in the life drawing class. Sharing its title with Allan's new book, the talk will wander gently across mathematics, physics, engineering, biology and art, but always with a focus on curves.

Warning: this talk contains nudity.

Allan McRobie is Reader in Engineering, University of Cambridge

13 November 2017


Lecture Theatre 1

Mathematical Institute


Please email to register