Mathematicians love their chalkboards, which they often use as their favorite working tools to write down and share their ideas. While their abstraction and complexity often make them hard to decipher, mathematical symbols and equations scribbled on a dark board make for beautiful objects. Jessica Wynne, associate professor of photography at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, has captured all their beauty in a series of photographs that she took while visiting mathematics institutes across Europe and America over the past three years.
A book gathering a collection of some of her most poignant photographs has recently been published by Princeton University Press. Do Not Erase: Mathematicians and Their Chalkboards features young as well as established mathematicians, some of whom are related to IHES: Alain Connes, Leon Motchane Chair, Misha Gromov, professor emeritus, Ofer Gabber, CNRS research director at IHES, Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, former director (1994-2013) and current Nicolaas H. Kuiper Chair, Hélène Esnault, member of the Institute’s scientific council, John Terilla, member of the board of directors of Friends of IHES.
IHES and Institut Henri Poincaré (IHP) are organizing a joint event around the book, in the presence of the author, Jessica Wynne, and of the mathematician Amie Wilkinson, a regular visiting researcher at IHP and a former visiting professor at IHES, whose work is portrayed in the book.
The event will take place
on Monday, September 13, at 5:30pm,
at Institut Henri Poincaré, amphithéâtre Hermite, 11 Rue Pierre et Marie Curie, 75005 Paris.
As the number of seats is limited, registration is mandatory.
Do Not Erase: Mathematicians and their Chalkboards is a photographic exploration of mathematicians’ chalkboards. In it, author Jessica Wynne offers more than one hundred stunning photographs of these chalkboards, gathered from a diverse group of mathematicians around the world. The photographs are accompanied by essays from each mathematician, reflecting on their work and processes. Together, pictures and words provide an illuminating meditation on the unique relationships among mathematics, art, and creativity.
Jessica Wynne is associate professor of photography at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Her photographs are in collections at the Morgan Library & Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and have been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, the Guardian, the New Yorker, and Fortune. Wynne is represented by Edwynn Houk Gallery and she lives in New York City.
Amie Wilkinson is a professor of mathematics at the University of Chicago working in ergodic theory and smooth dynamics. She received her undergraduate degree at Harvard in 1989 and her PhD at Berkeley in 1995. She held post-doctoral positions at Harvard and Northwestern and rose to the level of professor at Northwestern before moving to Chicago in 2011. Wilkinson’ research is concerned with the interplay between dynamics and other structures in pure mathematics – geometric, statistical, topological and algebraic.