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fig.: The image of a wall projection shows mathematician Cédric Villani in the 35mm, black/white, 32 min-looping film 'Au Bonheur des Maths' ('The Joys of Maths' - nine perspectives of scientists on the passion 'mathematics') by Raymond Depardon et Claudine Nougaret, 2011. The film is part of the exhibition 'Mathematics - A Beautiful Elsewhere' from 21 October 2011 until 18 March 2012 at the Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain. Photo: (C) Raymond Depardon-Magnum Photos.


Mathematicians in the art space of a jeweler

"A mathematician dancing in a rabbit costume," is one of Cédric Villani's figures which appear in his mathematical dreams as he said in an interview on occasion of the exhibition 'Mathematics - A Beautiful Elsewhere' from 21 October 2011 until 18 March 2012 at the Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain - an art space in Paris which was founded 1984 by the French jewellery and watch label Cartier.

The awarded mathematician Cédric Villani (born 1973, professor at Claude Bernard University in Lyon and director of the Institut Henri Poincaré in Paris) is one of the scientists who worked together with artists on the visual access to the abstract world of numbers and calculations: filmmaker David Lynch for example produced an animated film about a library of books which are important for the history of mathematics - with a nursery rhyme sung by Patti Smith, Japanese media artist Takeshi Kitano developed an interactive equations-game touch screen, or painter Beatriz Milhazes who presents a 'Paradise' collage where she combines nature and equations.

Beatriz Milhazes (born 1960 in Rio de Janeiro) created the collage 'O Paraíso' (a 'paradise' made of nature like plants, animals... and geometrical forms such as circles, triangles...) on a suggestion by Cédric Villani; equations are added to the landscape and show how nature can be described by using mathematics: "discontinuity of light (the sun's rays), the Bernoulli Principle (birds in flight), iridescence (the peacock's tail), electromagnetism (lightning), waves (sea waves), diffusion of heat (fire) and morphogenesis (the jaguar's spots)".

'Mathematics - A Beautiful Elsewhere' is accompanied by an iPad application for an artificial algorithm guided path through the exhibition; on the free university podcast platform iTunesU, educational material can be downloaded; children are invited to activities in the afternoon like 'Mathematics: Child-size' where a mathematician introduce into the logic of mathematical games and puzzles in a playful way, or to the 'Strange Robots (The Brain)' workshop where kids can interact with researchers and make their own little creature.

Details and more on fondation.cartier.com.


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