Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bottled Up

The house is getting quite full. Our friend and freelance writer Christy, who just spent a month in Berlin, dropped in last weekend on her way back to the U.S. and leaves next week. Today, the new magazine intern arrived and is staying with us as she seeks an apartment. Monday, John B, our Vienna correspondent, and his girlfriend arrive for few days. We think we have enough pillows, towels, and beds for all!

In any case, over the past two weeks, it has been gorgeous here in Cambridge. So we walked around the city with Christy over the weekend. One stop Saturday was at an art gallery called Kettle's Yard, which is hosting an exhibition called Beyond Measure on art and science. We went to hear a talk by Alan Bennett, a veteran glassblower. Bennett started making scientific instruments but soon grew curious about Klein bottles, a three-dimensional version of a Moebius strip--the bottle has one continuous surface with no edges. With good humor, Bennett explained how he made more and more complicated Klein bottles and other objects. At the right is one of his more spectacular examples-three Klein bottles, one inside another. Here's a very nice article on the math and background of Klein bottles. Among mathematicians Bennett has become a bit of a celebrity--his work even was written up in Scientific American. While it was a beautiful sunny day, the hour spent in the stuffy gallery room was well worth it--it's always inspiring to hear someone who follows their passion and curiosity.--JT

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