Joint Meetings 2009 — Day 3
Today’s special session on homotopy theory and higher categories seems to have pushed its higher categories until the afternoon, so I got a chance to see Dan Teague (of Dartmouth) talk about “Making Math out of Style”.
This was rather interesting to me, since the jumping-off point was the identification of Pollack paintings by box-counting dimensions. I really liked this story when it came out, since it’s a great story to relate mathematics to art. The talk continued to discuss efforts to identify authorship of some of the Federalist Papers, and of one of the Wizard of Oz books. Then there was identifying forged Van Gogh paintings (which I think I saw on Scientific American Frontiers a few months ago). Neat stuff.
In the afternoon, John Baez led off, talking about the classifying space of a 2-group. I’ll also him later discussing groupoidification in the categorification and link homology. I wanted to make this post now in a bit of down time so I could remind people that I’ll be at Tryst at 8, and to pass on this bit of wisdom from Baez’ first talk: is just in a really weird font.
[UPDATE]: Paul is right in his comment below. Dan Rockmore gave the talk, and Dan Teague introduced him. I met someone else the next day who confirmed both this fact and that he was initially confused by it as well.