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LKL Maths-Art seminar series: Mystery and Wonder Print
London Knowledge Lab - large seminar room
Phillip Kent, John Sharp

Date and Time:
Tuesday, 08 January 2008, 18:00 - 19:30

Mystery and Wonder, Play and Discovery: Mathematics and Art as Creative Activities
An LKL Maths-Art discussion event

This month our event will take the form of an open discussion rather than a long seminar presentation.

The theme of the discussion is to consider mathematics and art as creative activities in imagined spaces: What are the motivations which drive individuals to do mathematics or art? What characterises an interesting starting point -- a "problem", as mathematicians tend to say -- for work in mathematics or art? Interesting explorations often begin with a mystery: why does a certain configuration of elements behave as it does? Exploration leads from mystery to insight and understanding, but good problems never lose their capacity to cause wonder.

What are the benefits for mathematicians and artists of understanding each other's ways of working and thinking? There is a stock answer which denies anything in common: mathematical work is all terribly logical and constrained, whereas artists can just be sensual and unconstrained with their paint or whatever. But mathematical creation requires a measure of sensuality and lack of constraint, and artistic creation cannot function without the use of constraints and systems (rules) to generate, for example, the initial marks on the paper, and how they may be re-worked and refined. So there is a middle ground where the insights are worth exploring.

All welcome. No reservation required, but an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it would be appreciated for planning purposes.

Seminar website and archive:



Thu 29 Oct, 12:30 | Seminar
Wed 11 Nov, 12:30 | Seminar
Wed 16 Dec, 13:30 | Seminar