Join 3,418 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


The University of Illinois' Altgeld Math Models
June 3, 2014 9:40 AM   Subscribe

The Altgeld Math Models. Below you will find around 170 of the models that were photographed in March 2005 when the third floor model cases had to be emptied and moved. The models were carefully moved into the undergraduate lounge and arranged in a miniature "model museum" for two weeks, where each was carefully photographed and is now available for your enjoyment below.

String Models!
Glass Models!
Mechanisms!
Paper!
...and more!
posted by obscurator (11 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Participating in the state math team competition seemed to invariably involve climbing to whatever that lecture hall at the top of Altgeld is, passing the models in the process. Part of me is feeling nostalgia right now. Another part of me is wondering if they've dusted and installed some new lighting up there.
posted by hoyland at 10:11 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


Have they finished that Mandlebrot Set model yet? You'd think after a few decades it would be close to done.
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:24 AM on June 3 [6 favorites]


How did they make the plaster ones? Was there some person out there who specialized in accurate plaster models of theoretical curves? If so, how do I acquire this job for myself, and do you think they'll accept someone who doesn't wear a monocle?
posted by aramaic at 10:42 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


aramaic: "How did they make the plaster ones? Was there some person out there who specialized in accurate plaster models of theoretical curves? If so, how do I acquire this job for myself, and do you think they'll accept someone who doesn't wear a monocle?"

I have a friend who's an art-glass blower and he does some math, science, medical, and engineering models in glass. It requires a baseline level of nerdy interest in STEM, and a high tolerance for working closely with grad students with nitpicky requirements. Mostly people just see his glass in a show and wonder out loud if he could make an anatomically correct heart/a toroid figure/whatever, but after a while he started getting referrals.

He does not wear a monocle, no.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:32 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


Another part of me is wondering if they've dusted and installed some new lighting up there.

Haha. No.

But really cool to see Altgeld Hall on MetaFilter. One of my favorite buildings on campus.
posted by sbutler at 11:55 AM on June 3 [2 favorites]


They are all great, but the plaster ones are lovely.
posted by Dr Dracator at 12:44 PM on June 3


Eyebrows McGee: He does not wear a monocle, no.


So, just human forms, then? No abominations?

Useless.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:18 PM on June 3


I have a friend who's an art-glass blower and he does some math, science, medical, and engineering models in glass.

Eyebrows McGee, do you have a link to his site or to any of his work? It sounds wonderful.
posted by rue72 at 3:31 PM on June 3


Unfortunately he has ALMOST NO internet presence, which I hassle him about frequently. I could only find a couple examples of his sciencey work online:

a commemorative piece given to a chemistry couple here (bottom right photo).

A glass spine (FB link, not sure if you guys can see it ... next one is too:) Spine in progress

I actually saw a different heart piece (it was clear) but here's an art heart (FB again)

I've seen some of his specialized bottles. There's a med school, a USDA lab, Caterpillar, and a couple colleges in town, who all sometimes contact him to replicate old bottles they can't get any longer, or to produce specialized equipment for a new process they're experimenting with. Here's an old article just about his art generally, not his sciencey work.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:48 PM on June 3 [2 favorites]


Cool post, thanks!

I'd forgotten what an unusual & wonderful place Altgeld is. The ornate library with the glass floors in the stacks, the bell-tower that anyone can climb up to and play if they show up at 12:30 on a weekday, the models....

Those are really wonderful photos of them, too. Is there more explanation about any of the models? I didn't see any (although I did stumble across the math models calendar [PDF], which has comparatively crappy photos but more text about 10 of the models) -- did I miss it?

> They are all great, but the plaster ones are lovely.

Does anyone else find some of the plaster ones strangely... ah... provocative?

No? Just me? I'll be in my bunk with this copy of Mathematica, then.
posted by Westringia F. at 10:40 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


I recently learned about Romanesque Revival architecture. And when I did, I said, "hey, that's Altgeld!"
posted by persona au gratin at 12:49 AM on June 4


« Older Eric Berry goes to the International Mr. Leather e...  |  Tired of grinding your way thr... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments