January 17, 2008

Editors: Photos pertaining to this release can be downloaded
at http://dailynews.mcmaster.ca/images/MathSculpt1.jpg and http://dailynews.mcmaster.ca/images/MathSculpt2.jpg

Photo captions follow this news advisory


Art for a math-phobic public: Graffiti-covered sculpture to be unveiled this weekend

Hamilton, ON -  A sculpture of an ancient mathematician that has been purposely scribbled with mathematical equations will be unveiled this weekend in a public ceremony at McMaster University.

The three-piece sculpture, which depicts third-century Greek mathematician Anatolius, will be officially introduced on Sunday, January 20 at 2 p.m., in the entrance of Hamilton Hall.  Local artists Bryce Kanbara and Brian Kelly, who designed the sculpture, will attend the event.

The creation, which will hang in the light well of McMaster’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics, was designed with an ulterior motive.

“The idea of the project was to try and reach out to the community, so we wanted to avoid internal artwork that only spoke to mathematicians,” said Bradd Hart, chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

Hence the graffiti, which covers Anatolius’ toga, and shows math equations in a range of complexity.

Over a period of two years there was much collaboration between the faculty, the community and the artists. Handwritten samples from student notebooks were scanned and projected onto the sculpture so they could be replicated. The figure stood in a corner of the artists’ studio on James Street North in Hamilton for several months so professors could record their own mathematical equations on the figure.

“We liked the idea of including graffiti on the piece,” explained Kanbara. “And we liked the idea of having a human-centered sculpture in order to show math as being human centered instead of being abstract.”

Now completed and installed, the sculpture hangs in three parts at the top of the light well, with Anatolius being slightly larger than life size.  A small globe hangs above Anatolius’ head representing the contributions of mathematics to astronomy and the origins of geometry. A cherub on a concrete beam just below the skylight appears to be drawing Anatolius upwards into the sky.

“It’s fanciful as well as being thought-provoking,” said Hart. “We hope it stimulates those who enter Hamilton Hall, whether they’re looking to find out more about mathematics, or whether they’re looking to do some mathematics of their own."

McMaster University, a world-renowned, research-intensive university, fosters a culture of innovation, and a commitment to discovery and learning in teaching, research and scholarship. Based in Hamilton, the University, one of only four Canadian universities to be listed on the Top 100 universities in the world, has a student population of more than 23,000, and an alumni population of more than 130,000 in 128 countries.

Photo Captions:


1. Miroslav Lovric, associate professor of mathematics, applies an equation to the statue of ancient Greek mathematician Anatolius. The statue will be unveiled this weekend (Sunday, January 20, 2008) in the light well of Hamilton Hall, McMaster University. (Nicholas Kevlahan/McMaster University)

2. Detail of the sculpture: Mathematical equations have been scribbled over a statue of the ancient Greek mathematician Anatolius. The scultpure will be unveiled this weekend (Sunday, January 20, 2008) in the light well of Hamilton Hall, McMaster University. (Nicholas Kevlahan/McMaster University)


For more information, please contact:

Jane Christmas

Manager, Public & Media Relations

McMaster University

905-525-9140 ext. 27988


Michelle Donovan

Public Relations Manager: Broadcast Media

McMaster University

905-525-9140 ext. 22869