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Satyan Devadoss: “The Shape of Nature: Bee, Tree, Origami”

Professor Satyan Devadoss, 2015 Moody Lecture Speaker

Professor Satyan Devadoss of Williams College presented the ninth lecture in The Michael E. Moody Lecture Series on “The Shape of Nature: Bee, Tree, Origami”.

Satyan Devadoss is a mathematician, a professor at Williams College, a visiting professor at Harvey Mudd (for the 2015–2016 academic year), and holds a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins. He is an inaugural Fellow of the American Mathematical Society and has received teaching awards from the Mathematical Association of America. His works range from cartography and origami to phylogenetics and art, attracting support from the National Science Foundation, the John Templeton Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the Department of Defense. In addition to invitations at Google, Pixar, and LucasFilm, he has held visiting positions at Ohio State, UC Berkeley, the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, and Stanford.

More information about Satyan Devadoss is available from his website.

The lecture took place on September 17, 2015, at 7:00 PM, in HMC's Shanahan Center Auditorium.


The renaissance was a time when art and science were not polar opposites, but extensions of one another. With the advent of the enlightenment era, a dualistic tension between visual arts and scientific research was introduced. Today, the study of nature is serving as a bridge between these worlds once again. Heavily infused with imagery, we look at examples at the intersection of modern art and research mathematics, including architectural monuments inspired by the mysteries of honeycomb designs, paintings and visualizations motivated by the genetic data of novels, and paper sculptures spawned from the folding of leaves and proteins.