Nathaniel Friedman

Sculptor, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics
Albany, New York, USA

I have been making sculpture since 1971 when I took an evening sculpture course and discovered I loved carving both wood and stone. I was mainly influenced by Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. For about twenty five years my carving was therapy from mathematical research and did not relate to mathematics. However, I started organizing art/math conferences in 1992 and this resulted in mathematics gradually influencing my subject matter. About four years ago I started making geometric steel sculpture.

Triple Twist Mobius
Triple Twist Mobius
29 x 29 x 7 cm

One mathematical object can generate many sculptural variations depending on size, shape, and material. In particular, this is true for the Mobius band. There are Mobius bands made of wood, stone, ceramic, and metal as well as woven bands. The triple twist Mobius band is also interesting because the edge is a trefoil knot. This requires that the twists are either all right twists or all left twists. Last summer I started making triple twist Mobius bands by joining three twisted aluminum rectangles in a triangular shape, as in the example shown above. Recently I have been working on increasing the scale of the bands as well as carving twists in wood motivated by the hyperbolic shape of the twists in aluminum.