Combinatorics Seminar

Wednesday, October 16, 2019 at 4:15pm to 5:15pm

Room 2-139 -- MIT - 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA

SPEAKER:  Satyan Devadoss  (University of California, San Diego

TITLE:  Unfolding Geometry at Burning Man


A 2-ton interactive sculpture came to life at Burning Man 2018, the world’s most influential large-scale sculpture showcase. Rising 12 feet tall with an 18-foot wingspan in the Nevada desert, the unfolding dodecahedron was illuminated by 16,000 LEDs, requiring 6500 person hours and $50,000 in funds.

Its interior, large enough to hold 15 people, was fully lined with massive mirrors, alluding to a possible shape of our universe. The unfolding exterior points to the 500-year-old work of Albrecht Durer, and the tantalizing open problem of discovering a geometric unfolding for every convex polyhedron. We discuss the state-of-the-art, and consider higher-dimensional unfolding analogs, with elegant geometric and combinatorial relationships.

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