Bridges (part 1)

I made it to Finland! In fact, I’m on a train from Tikkurila to Jyväskylä, where the Bridges conference will be held. The weather here is brisk – a strong breeze with a slight wintry bite was the first thing I noticed when I stepped outside of the train from the Helsinki airport at the Tikkurila station. I’m very thankful to say that all my connections were smooth, and that I’m feeling reasonably healthy for someone who hasn’t slept much in the last 24 hours or so. During the trip I’ve been meditating on Psalm 23, and how God is the shepherd of his people. I’ve been praying that I will see his shepherding hand at work in my life and in the lives around me during this trip. I’m thankful that he’s shepherded me across the many miles thus far.

I’m looking forward to the conference quite a lot. I’m hoping to reconnect with some folks from last year, to meet some new folks, and to gather some fresh ideas about how I can express mathematical concepts through visual art (and maybe even vice-versa?). The first day of the conference looks quite good. Here is my intended schedule:

  • Plenary session consisting of welcome remarks and a memorial for Reza Sarhangi. He was a co-founder and co-organizer of the Bridges conference who recently died. These remarks will be followed by two additional plenary talks on subjects that are a bit hard to discern based solely on their titles 🙂
  • Following the plenary talks, there will be a formal opening ceremony for the art exhibit accompanying the conference.
  • Then comes lunch. In fact, the meals were one of my favorite parts of the conference last year, as they provided an opportunity to converse with folks from a variety of backgrounds and interests (both mathematical and artistic). I’m hoping to enjoy a similar experience this year.
  • After lunch, I plan to attend talks by Rinus Roelofs, Craig Kaplan, and Carlos H.Séquin. Each one looks like it will be quite interesting, and I know from last year that each of these speakers can be quite engaging.
  • After a coffee break, I plan to participate in a workshop led by George Hart and Elisabeth Heathfield entitled, “Rhombic Tricontrahedron Puzzle.” Sound like fun.
  • The day will end with a conference reception in the evening.

Time allowing, I hope to post a daily update about the conference. So, feel free to come back and read more about it!

By the way, I’m noticing a LOT of white trunked pine trees along the train route. It’s really quite pretty! I’m also noticing that it’s still quite bright outside even though it’s about 8:30pm. I’ll be curious to see how much of a night we get this far north in August…