• +1 (410) 706 0330
  • mr dot apike at gmail dot com

Math Art

As an undergraduate student at Oberlin College, I decided to do honors research during my senior year. While I later decided to pursue biology as a career, in college I double majored in mathematics and biology, and chose the math department for my honors research. Having enjoyed his class on Optimization, I decided to work with Dr. Robert Bosch on the application of mathematics (and specifically optimization) to making visual art. Dr. Bosch is well known for making portraits using everyday objects like dominoes, and for his traveling salesman tour art. You can view his artwork at his TSP Artwork and Domino Artwork pages.

With Dr. Bosch, I worked on making so-called "map-colored mosaics" that resembled target images. "Map coloring" refers to not using the same color for adjacent tiles. Just as you wouldn't want a map to have the same color for two bordering countries, we decided to restrain our artwork to not have the same color value on adjacent tiles. This led to visually interesting patterns in the artwork, while creating an interesting mathematical problem. I successfully earned honors in the department, and worked on a portrait of MC Escher, pictured below, with Dr. Bosch and Dr. Robert Fathauer that was displayed at the art exhibition associated with the 2008 Bridges Conference on Mathematical Connections in Art, Music, Architecture, Education and Culture.

In addition to the map-colored mosaics, I created many other pieces of math art. Two portraits of Waclaw Sierpinski created using Sierpinski gaskets and Sierpinski carpets were featured at the 2008 Joint Mathematics Meeting and 2009 Bridges Math Art exhibitions, and I created a similar portrait of David Hilbert out of Hilbert curves.