Book Covers

Mike Starbird and I got talking about a cover for this text book, Number Theory Through Inquiry, written with David C. Marshall and Edward Odell, published in December 2007 by the Mathematical Association of America. The result is a visual demonstration of the Chinese Remainder Theorem.

The image was generated in part using various Python scripts to output individual cogs, and put together in Photoshop. The shading and embossing effects were all done using Photoshop.

The text on the cover of the actual book (not shown on the images here) was added by Carole Goodman of Freedom by Design.

Ravi Vakil asked me to do the cover for the second edition of his book of the above title, published in October 2007 by Brendan Kelly Publishing.

There are many many features in the pictured pinecone and the arrows background coming from my discussions with Ravi, and which one should really buy the book to appreciate!

The pinecone was prototyped in Second Life and rendered in Rhinoceros with the assistance of Bathsheba Grossman. If you have Second Life installed, you can visit the pinecone (and walk around the back of it!). The background image was generated using a Python script from a hand constructed pattern by Ravi. Some of the features of the background are highlighted in the second image.

This image was also used on the poster for Mathfest 2009.


At the start of Fall quarter 2002, Persi Diaconis asked me to make a poster for the first of a series of talks in the math department at Stanford. I got the job to do a poster for each one throughout the year. The process involved finding whoever was giving the talk and getting some sort of image to use, either from them directly or getting the idea for some sort of image that I can make or get from somewhere else. Some sort of relevance to the subject of the talk occasionally happened too...

Since then I have collected the occasional mathematical poster here. Beware that some of the images are rather big.

This was the first in a series of posters produced to highlight different areas of mathematics for the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Melbourne. The photograph used to make the Droste effect picture was by Kier Williams, the text was written by Hyam Rubinstein, and some of the design choices were due to Penny Wightwick.

I designed this poster for the 2011 open day at the University of Melbourne. I had the 3d models out on a table in front of the poster so that people could play with them. The content of the poster is based on this paper.

The 'shadows' are formed when light passes through a plane of gravitational attractors, gets distorted and forms into cusps and so on in the image.

Tricky one this, with no obvious relevant pictures, and even just a pun on the words is hard...'Index' isn't a very visual concept any way I could think of. The subject does have a bunch of concisely stated and closely related theorems though. Many results come out of the core index theorems, hence the whirlpool/big bang idea.

Brainstorming with Susan Holmes resulted in this, incorporating a random walk, coin tossing, cards (as in "Alice in Wonderland"), Persi's business card from when he was a magician, and an ambigram by Scott Kim. I used my graphics tablet to draw many pairs of legs, but there is plenty of cheating going on too.

A black and white image because the poster was to be photocopied. I used The Celtic Knot Font for the border. Incidentally, Celtic knots are usually alternating knots (as this one is (unless its a link, I have never checked)).

Ralph Cohen asked me to do this poster for a workshop he is helping to organise at Stony Brook. The diagrams illustrate the construction of a 'fat graph', a technique often used in the subject. The main diagram also bears a passing resemblance to the Stony Brook logo.

The subject matter doesn't really lend itself to good images (way too many dimensions), so I went for a different sort of interpretation of the title.

The umbrella is a reference to a scene in the film "A Beautiful Mind", in which John Nash picks out the image of an umbrella among the stars.

This is one of the few made from scratch, without using images from elsewhere. In the bottom right is a cobordism, and the main image is representative of the Thom Pontryagin construction.

The Mandelbrot set of course, with a similar but not mathematically meaningful colouring around the letters.

The image is of a page of the Archimedes palimpsest. The photograph was taken under UV light then digitally enhanced so the writings can be seen clearly. The other set of writings are a religious text, written over the Archimedes text when recycling was even more important than today.

The elliptic curve picture shows an order 6 element in the group on the curve. The Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer Conjecture is one of the problems worth a $1,000,000 prize from the Clay Mathematics Institute.

To the left is Gauss, to the right is Stein, who is in the statistics department here at Stanford. Stein came up with an estimate that is better than the one Gauss invented.

The photo I found on the internet - it was taken by Philip Guo at MIT and illustrates one of the phenomena very nicely. It's also a nice picture of a duck. I'm pleased with the distortion on the words to go with the ripples.

Yasha Eliashberg asked me to do this poster for a series of talks given by Prof. Dubrovin, who is/was visiting from Italy/Russia. We didn't have an image until Dubrovin supplied the equations and idea for the picture.

Zelmanov was the first visiting speaker, and partly as a result, I didn't have the title until late on, and no image either. The picture does have something to do with infinite groups, but otherwise didn't have much to do with the talk.

Tai-Ping supplied the cartoon, which has something to do with shockwaves. I coloured it a little, trying to keep with the style and added the text.

This comes from the Geometry Center at the University of Minnesota. It's a snapshot from the video 'Not Knot', this part of the video by Charlie Gunn.

Original is from a paper of Eliashberg and Thurston, and depicts lines in a vector field killed by the form dz - ydx. I added the colours and the text copying the 'propellers'.

I did the tesselation from scratch, which apparently has something to do with the subject matter. The bulge somehow fits nicely with it being about rigidity.

The image is from a painting in Rafe's office, by Eugenie Hunsicker. Not much direct relevance to the talk, but lots of geometry references...