, , , , , , ,

From Mathematics to Art: an interview with Tuomas Tuomiranta

Mathematicians know that mathematics is beautiful, but they have hard time explaining to others why is it so. In fact, most of the time they give up on this task. My friend Tuomas Tuomiranta hasn’t. I met Tuomas at the University of Helsinki when we both studied mathematics around 10 years ago. Several years later it came to me as a surprise to find out that he became a visual artist! In 2010 Tuomas had created simulations of liquid dynamics based on the Navier-Stoke’s and turned them into artistic animations. Another one was based on the theory of conformal mappings in the complex plane – a common topic at the University of Helsinki. Some links:

Tuomas Tuomiranta was Read more


, , , ,

Art vs. Mathematics and How to Get Something from Nothing: An interview with Markus Rissanen

I wrote previously about Markus Rissanen when I still didn’t know him personally. Markus is a professional artist who has been fascinated by tilings and their mathematical properties such as symmetries and regularities ever since he was very young. As explained in my previous post, Markus eventually solved the problem of generalising some quasiperiodic properties of Penrose tilings from 5-fold symmetry to n-fold symmetry for any positive integer n. In this interview we briefly touch the subject of tilings. Then we talk about the difference between mathematical work, artistic work and the work of writing a PhD thesis in which Markus was engaged for the past four years. I got to ask him a question that has been bothering me for a long time: Why don’t artists, especially painters do joint work? At least significantly less frequently than, say, mathematicians, who are traditionally considered to be “lonely workers” (not the case! See my interview with Olli Martio). Another important topic we touch upon is what to do when you do not have inspiration? Here is part of Markus’ answer:

Read more

, , ,

How to Turn 5 Seconds a Year into Unlimited Source of Motivation: An interview with Professor Emeritus Olli Martio

Olli Martio and Vadim Kulikov

Olli Martio (right), me (left).

For no less than 25 years out of his career, Olli Martio (born 1941) was a chair of one of the mathematics departments in Finland: at the universities of Jyväskylä and Helsinki. He retired seven years ago, but he hasn’t stopped working nor making ground breaking progress in mathematics. For the last six years he was employed by the Academy of Finland. In 1964, when he was still a graduate student, he had a side job programming one of the first IBM computers in Europe. I was rather surprised to hear what was the main purpose of these machines at the time: printing lots of data on paper. Well, at the time paper was the main medium for data storage after all.

For me the main take-aways of this interview include:

Read more

, ,

How to be the Artist You Want: An Interview with Bella Volen

Bella and I in her studio in Vienna.

Bella and I in her studio in Vienna.

Stream it from here:

Download the mp3 file by right-clicking here.

Bella Volen is a Bulgarian born artist based in Vienna, Austria. She creates amazing art installations through painting on virtually everything: canvas, humans, balloons, guitars, walls, … the list is endless. Here are some of my favourites:

For more of Bella’s art, recent news and all you want to know, visit, and

Read more