Catalyst Conversations: Invariance of Domain

Monday, March 24 2014
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Location: Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard, 7 Cambridge Center, Monadnock Room, Cambridge, MA 02142

Anne Lilly and Michael Hopkins

Join the conversation! We are pleased to invite you to our next event, continuing the dialogue between art and science.

Kinetic sculptor Anne Lilly uses carefully engineered motion to shift and manipulate our perception of time and space. Employing opposing modalities -- analytical and intuitive, rational and emotional -- Lilly's sculptures elicit new connections between the physical space outside ourselves and our own private, psychological domain.

Michael Hopkins studies algebraic topology, which attempts to differentiate between multidimensional shapes, or topological spaces.  Algebraic topology is derived from mathematical experiences in much the same way that geometry derives from our physical experience of shapes in the world and algebra from manipulating things. Algebraic topology is about a relationship between numbers and shapes.

Together they will explore the idea of invariance of shapes from their particular perspectives as well as how and where the two points of view overlap. Lilly will reveal the importance of using math in developing her ideas as well how she intuits structure and form. Hopkins will link his thinking about algebraic topology in his own research to Lilly's sculpture.

Reception to follow

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 We hope you will join us for this dialogue between art and science.


Harvard mathematics professor Michael J. Hopkins received both his BA and Ph.D. in mathematics from Northwestern University. He received his D.Phil. in mathematics from the University of Oxford. Hopkins held an NSF postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton University and advanced from instructor to assistant professor there before taking a professorship at the University of Chicago. He moved to the MIT in 1989 and has been professor at Harvard since 2005. He has received many awards and honors including a Rhodes Scholarship and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship. Hopkins is an associate editor of the Journal of the American Mathematical Society, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a foreign member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters.

In 2013, Anne Lilly  received the Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation Grant Award for Lifetime Achievement. She was named 2012 artist-in-residence at the Art Institute of Boston, and was awarded the 2011 Blanche E. Colman Grant. Her work is held in corporate and private collections internationally. She studied engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and holds a Bachelor of Architecture magna cum laude from Virginia Tech. She is currently a 2014 MIT Visiting Artist. Her work is included in the current exhibit at the MIT Museum 5000 Moving Parts.

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