David Bachman

Professor of Mathematics
Pitzer College
Claremont, CA

My art is a product of going back and forth between the physical and mathematical worlds. Most of my designs start with a physical form in which I see some intrinsic beauty. I then try to capture the essence of this beauty in a mathematical model, which can be modified in an infinite number of ways. Finally, with the aid of modern fabrication techniques (e.g. 3D printing), I create physical realizations of these mathematical abstractions.

Islamic Cube
Islamic Cube
2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 inches
3D printed Bronze

The faces of this cube come from a classic Islamic tiling pattern, based on octagons and dodecagons. In such tiling patterns, apparent under/over crossings are often added as embelleshments of the two dimensional design. To create this cube, these embellishments were interpreted as literal under/over crossings of separate strands. Can you guess how many individual strands this model is comprised of?

Shell-f life
Shell-f life
4.25 x 8 x 5 inches
3D printed "sandstone" (Gypsum powder)

The basic profile curve, seen on the edge of the shell, was "hand" drawn on a computer screen. Then a script was written which used this curve to parametrically generate the outer surface of the shell and add the spines. Further modification was then done to create a 3D printable model from this surface. Finally, coloring was added from a photograph of a real shell.