On the way to Helsinki

I’m on my way to the Bridges 2022 conference in Helsinki, Finland. It has been… *checks watch*… five years since the last time I posted to this blog. I won’t try to catch you up in a single blog post on everything that’s happened in those five years, but suffice it say, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

At the moment I am sitting in the Chicago airport next to my friend Brian, on my way to present my first paper at a math conference. You can read it here, and as you can see I’m still writing about fractals. This will be my first trip overseas, and only my 3rd country overall (though we plan to add Estonia as well after the main conference).

The paper like many things is evidence that the only way to accomplish anything is to not know how much time it is really going to take you in the first place. These 4 pages (about 1200 words) are the culmination of some initial explorations two years ago, dozens of hours programming, 10’s of hours writing, some copy-editing from the aforementioned Brian, two rounds of reviews and revisions, 20 hours building a 3D model (for one picture) by hand, and another dozen hours or so writing a presentation (which I was revising for a few more hours before leaving the house yesterday). I’m excited, nervous, but I think generally ready, and even after I just gave you that laundry list, I want to do it all over again as soon as I can.

The aforementioned 3D model, made out of PixBrix.

The Bridges conference is really special. When I went there five years ago, I felt like I had met my tribe. I like working as a professional software engineer / architect, but it’s math and making art that excites me, and the opportunity to try to inspire that joy in others. The last time I went I felt like I learned more than I could take in all at once, and I’ve been itching to go back and learn even more.

I’m not sure when you’ll hear from me next. I am trying to scare together time outside my job to work on another programming book (this one in python/cython), but that could be quite a ways off. Going to the conference did at least drag me onto Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/fractal_man2147/). I’ll try to keep up with posting new artwork in-between larger projects. I may take a crack at other papers as well (maybe a longer paper for Bridges, or something for the Journal of Mathematics and the Arts). And I’ve got a pipe dream idea for a recreational mathematics magazine of my own. Maybe someday.

In the meantime, below is one of my favorite sandpiles from the work on the paper. It’s made using a quilting pattern called “Road to Oklahoma” and was color-sampled from the flowers in my garden.

Until we meet again, hopefully a little sooner next time!

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Filed under fractals, Writing

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