Stylish Mathematics: The Arts and Math in Conjunction

June 24, 2008

Dartmouth Professor to be I.E. Block Community Lecturer at SIAM Annual Meeting

All too often, we see mathematics and the arts as two sides of the science/humanities coin. However, there is a place where these two seemingly opposite disciplines come naturally together. Daniel N. Rockmore of Dartmouth College will discuss this exciting new Stylish Mathematics as the I. E. Block Community Lecturer during the annual meeting of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). The Block Lecture will be held on Wednesday, July 9, at 6:15 p.m. in the Town and Country Room at the Town and Country Hotel & Resort in San Diego, California.

In today's world, where almost all aspects of life are brought to the common medium of the computer, it is now possible to quantify and extract the style of an artist via computation. One can look to literary, visual, and dance arts and see applications to the problem of authenticating specific artists' and authors' work, as well as to the more general problem of quantifying one's personal style. Taken together, Rockmore's talk will show just how "stylish" mathematics can be!

The Block Lecture will be immediately followed by a Community Reception at 7:15 p.m. and a screening of Mind in the Machine: The Discovery of Artificial Intelligence, a film by Wendy Conquest, Bob Drake, and Dan Rockmore, at 8:15 p.m. This 53-minute long documentary begins in the summer of 1956, when a small group of mathematicians met at Dartmouth College to understand the very nature of human thought through the power of mathematics as embodied in a relatively new and still not-so-well understood technology called the computer. They called this new discipline artificial intelligence (AI) and, in doing so, initiated a field of study that today lives at the frontier of computing, philosophy, mathematics, and psychology. Through interviews with those intellectual pioneers and lively original footage, this film captures the excitement of those first days of AI and the spirit of those who are some of our most intrepid intellectual explorers. This film presentation may not be recorded or taped.

Organized by SIAM, this free event encourages public appreciation of the excitement and vitality of applied mathematics by reaching out as broadly as possible to students, teachers, and members of the local community, as well as researchers and practitioners in the fields of applied mathematics and computational science. The lecture is open to the public and is named in honor of I. Edward Block, founder of SIAM, who served as its Managing Director for nearly 20 years.

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About SIAM

The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) is an international community of over 11,000 individual members, including applied and computational mathematicians, computer scientists, and other scientists and engineers. The Society advances the fields of applied mathematics and computational science by publishing a series of premier journals and a variety of books, sponsoring a wide selection of conferences, and through various other programs. More information about SIAM is available at

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