Emanuela Ughi

Tenured Researcher of Mathematics
Dipartimento di Matematica e Informatica - Università di Perugia - Italy
Perugia, Italy

All my life I have loved geometrical shapes, and there is nothing I enjoy more than inspiring others to love them, too. I have always found it difficult, though, to describe the mental images of mathematical objects through words alone. It was for this reason that I began constructing geometrical objects: art works, manipulatives, puzzles, and more - to communicate the elegance and beauty of shape. And I have seen, time and again how, by viewing and handling complex objects in concrete form, people of all ages glean an appreciation for – and understanding of – them. It is a joy for me to hear the astonished exclamation: “Ohhhh!” when someone has grasped a mathematical concept through the medium of one of my objects.

Ycocedron Abscisus Vacuus
Ycocedron Abscisus Vacuus
43 x 43 x 43 cm

George Hart’s Ycocedron Abscisus Vacuus is so beautiful, I became envious just seeing it: I wanted one too! Not only did I want one, though, I wanted to make it in a way that would let others enjoy it, too; so I constructed one from cardboard. Later, I published Leonardo’s Polyhedron (Il poliedro di Leonardo – edizionicorsare), which includes a cardboard kit. People usually think my ycocedron is made of wood and, so, heavy. In fact, it is so light (200 grams) that it has been displayed, at the Ambrosiana Library in Milan, together in the same case with Pacioli’s original book – hanging directly over da Vinci’s drawing.