Wolfram Computation Meets Knowledge

The Mathematica Story: A Scrapbook

Three Decades of Contributions to Invention, Discovery and Education

Helaman Rolfe Pratt Ferguson, Sculptor

Congratulations on your upcoming 52 anniversary! Claire and I gave a talk at your 10th anniversary, which experience we remember fondly.

I want to thank you personally for supporting my mathematical sculpture in the form of giving me free versions of Mathematica over the years.

I recently completed a sculpture for the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics at Stony Brook University. This sculpture was big, over 5^2 feet high, 20,000 lbs of silicon bronze, and 55 tons of granite.

Your Mathematica played a vital role in the creation of this piece. I carved a couple hundred tons of sandstone to make the molds for the bronze casting. To do this, I built a monster five-axis gantry robot with volume 16′ x 20′ x 13′. I used Mathematica as my base language to program this gantry robot to carve the negative images in sandstone of each of the distinct 144 parts. The tool path was a 3-adic curve, so each of the 144 parts was defined by a start and end; they all welded together so the entire “Umbilic Torus SC” is defined by exactly one surface filling curve.

This project would have been impossible without Mathematica.