Great Quote/Brainstorm tomorrow

The mathematician may be compared to a designer of garments, who is utterly oblivious of the creatures whom his garments may fit. To be sure, his art originated in the necessity for clothing such creatures, but this was long ago; to this day a shape will occasionally appear which will fit into the garment as if the garment had been made for it. Then there is no end of surprise and delight. – David van Dantzig (1900 – 1959)

Julia and I are anticipating no end of surprise and delight as we get this project off the ground at tomorrow’s brainstorming meeting with local mathematicians. We intend to clothe the conceptual creatures of abstract mathematics by early November. I’ve got a bunch of shirts and and a bundle of ideas – let’s go!

[to find out more about Dantzig see ]


Welcome to The Mathematician’s Shirts! Over the next 4 months, mathematician Julia Collins and artist Madeleine Shepherd will be designing and creating a series of sculptures made out of shirts and representing different concepts in mathematics. The shirt has been chosen because it is an iconic and familiar item of clothing and because it also represents the formality of the (largely male) mathematical world.

This project is funded by ASCUS, the Art Science Collaborative, and aims to bring together artists and scientists in new innovative collaborations. The Mathematician’s Shirts will be exhibited in a location not traditionally associated with either artists or scientists, such as a shop window on the High Street, to encourage the public to engage with both the artistic and mathematical ideas behind the sculptures.

In this blog we will follow the progress of the ideas, the making of the sculptures and the public dialogue about them. If you are reading this, please contribute your thoughts!