Dali, Math the Topic of Bartlett Lecture

Thomas Banchoff, a geometer from Brown University who met with artist Salvador Dali on numerous occasions, will present the Bartlett Memorial Lecture this month.
March 18, 2010
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Contributions by Daniel Bartlett's family and friends have made it possible to establish Daniel Bartlett Memorial Fund, which is meant to memorialize him and also foster awareness and appreciation of mathematics in the Tucson community. The fund also supports graduate education in the UA mathematics department.

To contribute to this fund, checks should be made out to "UA Foundation", with "Daniel Bartlett Memorial Fund" on the memo line, and can be sent to the UA Department of Mathematics, 617 N. Santa Rita Ave., P.O. Box 210089, Tucson, Ariz., 85721-0089. For more information on contributing, please contact David Gonzalez.

Bartlett Lecture
March 22, 6:30 p.m.
Gallagher Theater, Student Union Memorial Center, 1303 E. University Blvd
Thomas Banchoff with Salvador Dali
Thomas Banchoff with Salvador Dali
Thomas Banchoff, a Brown University geometer, is presenting the Daniel Bartlett Memorial Lecture on March 22.
Thomas Banchoff, a Brown University geometer, is presenting the Daniel Bartlett Memorial Lecture on March 22.

Salvador Dali, who Thomas Banchoff met on numerous occasions over a 10-year period, was fascinated by images and concepts from science and mathematics and incorporated them into his paintings. 

Banchoff, a Brown University geometer, will discuss Dali's ideas during the third annual Daniel Bartlett Memorial Lecture, which will be held March 22. The lecture is presented by the University of Arizona's mathematics department.

The 6:30 p.m. discussion is free and open to the public and will be held at the Gallagher Theater, which is located at the Student Union Memorial Center, 1303 E. University Blvd.

Banchoff's presentation will provide insights into Dali's ideas about exaggerated perspective, pattern recognition and catastrophe theory while also featuring computer generated images and animations, as well as excerpts from the documentary, "The Dali Dimension."

"The central object in his 1954 painting 'Corpus Hypercubicus' is a Christ figure on an unfolded hypercube from the fourth dimension," Banchoff wrote in his description for the lecture.

"That painting put me in contact with the artist, leading to a dozen meetings with him over the period 1975 to 1985," Banchoff added.

"This talk will be a personal report on insights into why Dali chose the mathematical ideas he included in his work, and how he went about constructing and carrying out his paintings," he said.

The annual lecture is sponsored by the UA department of mathematics and family and friends of Daniel Wezelman Bartlett. Bartlett was a fourth-year student in the UA's mathematics department when he died of sudden cardiac arrest on Aug. 8, 2006.  

The third speaker in the lecture series, Banchoff is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and earned his doctoral degree in 1964 from the University of California, Berkeley. He went on to complete post-doctoral training and research at both Harvard University and the University of Amsterdam.

At Brown, Banchoff and computer science professor Charles Strauss were among the first to produce computer animated, prize-winning films on objects in the fourth-dimension. He specializes in teaching and research using interactive computer visualization techniques developed in collaboration with his students.