Photo album: The Art of Mathematics in Wood

Northfielder Barry Cipra, freelance mathematics writer, alerted me to the one-day (Oct. 21) exhibit at Dean Kjerland’s ArtOnWater Gallery last week: The Art of Mathematics in Wood- a special evening of mathematical puzzles, games, and art. The invitation poster reads:

Art of Math in WoodBarry CipraThis handsome, hands-on collection of puzzles and games can be appreciated on many levels, from novice to expert. There are building blocks for sculpture and design, put-together and take-apart puzzles, arrangement puzzles, sequential movement puzzles, sliding block puzzles, and two-person games.

Loren Larson, professor emeritus of mathematics at St. Olaf College, constructed many of these pieces while working with award-winning mathematics writer Barry Cipra. Come play with the puzzles and join Loren and Barry for an evening of entertaining mathematics. Its free. Light refreshments will be served. Students are welcome.

This Northfield event is part of the international Celebration of Mind in honor of Martin Gardner the renowned mathematical expositor and longtime author of the Mathematical Games column for Scientific American.

See the album of 13 photos (large slideshow, recommended), or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow:


  1. Griff Wigley said:

    Barry asked me to emphasize that this was a one-day only event, not an ongoing show.

    November 1, 2011
  2. Paul Zorn said:


    These are indeed magnificent puzzles, and from both mathematical and aesthetic points of view. And while the show alluded to was just for one day, now elapsed, Loren and Barry have shown these puzzles and others several times at events in town … so don’t despair of seeing them again, or for the first time.

    Among the pictures, have a special look at the one with a bright red zig-zaggy wooden object. (It’s in the foreground of one of the last pictures.) For more information and some high-res photos, click here

    The object shown is a smaller version of an even more remarkable Loren Larson sculpture, which now hangs permanently displayed on the 6th (top) floor of the mathematical sciences building at St Olaf. This amazing sculpture, which has appeared in a national publication, could not have been built by anyone lacking the rare combination of mathematical knowledge, refined technical skill, and fantastic patience.

    The sculpture depicts a “knight’s tour of a-three-dimensional chessboards”. To understand what that means, and to see some high-res photos,

    click here.

    November 1, 2011
  3. Paul Zorn said:

    Oops … two glitches in message #2:

    1. There’s a redundant “click here” … both do the same thing.

    2. I forgot to invite all LoGroNo’ers to see the large knight’s tour sculpture in person, as it were. It’s worth a field trip to the Regents Math building at St Olaf.

    November 1, 2011

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