Pitzer College’s David Bachman Receives Mathematical Art Exhibition Award

Claremont, Calif. (February 6, 2020)—Pitzer College Professor David Bachman has won a 2020 Mathematical Art Award at the Joint Mathematics Meeting for his work Computational Wings.

The Mathematical Art Exhibition Award “for aesthetically pleasing works that combine mathematics and art” are selected from the exhibition of juried works in various media by more than 90 mathematicians and artists from around the world.

Bachman details how he created Computations Wings, which received honorable mention: “The body of this dragonfly is taken from a photograph, while the wings were computationally generated. A variety of algorithms were used to create them. First, a set of points were randomly populated across each wing and moved by a circle-packing algorithm, where the radius of each circle was inversely proportional to the distance from the body. Next, those points were used to create a Voronoi diagram [a partition of a plane into regions close to each of a given set of objects]. Main veins were located by a shortest-walk algorithm through the edges of this diagram, and those veins were given a variable thickness according to the distance traveled as you traverse them outward from the body.”

The other award recipients are Suspended Helical Stair, by Mark Donohue from California College of the Arts under best textile, sculpture or other medium,and A Unit Domino, by Douglas McKenna from Mathemaesthetics, Inc. in the best photograph, painting or print.

Since 2004, Bachman has taught mathematics at Pitzer College. His courses include Mathematics of 3D Printing and Math, Art and Environment.

The Mathematical Art Exhibition was established in 2008 through an endowment provided to the American Mathematical Society by an anonymous donor who wishes to acknowledge those whose works demonstrate the beauty and elegance of mathematics expressed in a visual art form. The Mathematical Art Exhibition of juried works in various media is held at the annual Joint Mathematics Meetings of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) and Mathematical Association of America (MAA).

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