an open source architectural beadwork project from Kate McKinnon and a worldwide team of innovators

CGB@MIT IAP 2016, the wrap-up

There is much to report.

Yesterday was my last class session of the IAP term. I vastly enjoyed it, as did our students. In fact, they enjoyed it so much that they are forming the MIT Mathematical Beading Club. I could not have envisioned a more delightful result. And we had so much fun spending time with Martin and Erik Demaine.

Erik Warped Square.jpg

Erik, holding a folded Hypar (hyperbolic parabaloid) known to beaders as The Warped Square

We made huge strides in the work over the course of the last two months, both on team in Tucson and in herd in Boston. We discovered the simplest possible secret of deconstruction (how had we not seen this before?) and we learned new ways of approaching our energetic forms; the flat triangle, the Warped Square, the canoe ellipse. We made strides in understanding twists in systems (Möbius or other) and I have been able to demonstrate satisfactorily with my hands that I can model a system that appears to be bounded and contain mirror symmetry, but is in fact just a flat plane masquerading as three-dimensional structure.

All is one.

In the last 25 days, I gave two lectures, a seminar, two full weekend classes to private students, and eight days of afternoon work sessions. I learned to fold hypars out of paper, met many new connections, friends and collaborators, and bonded with a whole group of people I might not otherwise have met. I came to know Cambridge better, and learned the tunnels of MIT. I feel at home here, and have not even once minded the cold weather. Perhaps this is because no real winter has happened… there was one snowfall, a few days under 20F.

Dustin Wedekind teaching at MIT.jpg

Dustin Wedekind and Kim Van Antwerp flew in for the third week of the session

Excitingly the MIT News featured us in their wrap-up video of the sessions, have a peek! Our work appears at around 28 seconds in, and you can see my student Monia checking to see which beads in the pieces are UV-reactive.

I expect to be in Boston for much of the Fall, planning something neat for the roof of one of the buildings (hopefully the Green Building). We are going back up on the roof on Monday.

Peter Kellner Amanda 54.png

On the roof again, this time with Peter Sollogub, Kellner Brown, and Peter’s associate Amanda. We were also joined by Martin and Erik Demaine, our academic sponsors. This is Martin, clowning on the ladder of the Radome.

Martin Demaine on the radar ball.jpg

In short, the time was wonderful, successful, and productive, and we plan to not only return next year, but to add Harvard in as well.

Thank you to everyone who participated in making this month amazing!

About katemckinnon

Kate McKinnon has devoted herself to the study of how things are done, and how they could be done better. Find her at or on some city street, walking fast, smiling at strangers.

2 comments on “CGB@MIT IAP 2016, the wrap-up

  1. Ingrid D.M.
    February 1, 2016

    You fascinate me, honestly. I am a chemist, by my studies (not really any more by my work) and i would have never thought that beads would led to such elaborated discussiob aroud geometry. I must admit that i even have hard time to follow everything you are working on with the team. Would you come in France one day too ? 😉

    • katemckinnon
      February 1, 2016

      Yes! I will! I want to bead with you, delightful chemist!

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This entry was posted on January 30, 2016 by .
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