USA/Minnesota team crafts award-winning snow sculpture
Research-sponsored USA/Minnesota team captured second place in the elite
10th annual International Snow Sculpture Championships held in
Breckenridge, Colorado during January this year. The team was one of only 17 chosen out of 24 to
participate in this year's competition, which included representation from the
United States, Canada, England, Germany, Finland, Mexico, the Netherlands,
Russia, and Switzerland.
In June 2000, the Wolfram team's sculpture, entitled
"Rhapsody in White," was named U.S. Snow Sculpture of the Month by the
national federation. The team received an official invitation to the Olympic Trials
in February 2001, to be held in Lake Placid. The winner of that event will be the U.S. entry at the Salt Lake
City Olympics. This is not an official Olympic event, but it is a "cultural
event" and is held alongside each Olympics.
"Rhapsody in White" (above) was of a Mathematica-generated Enneper
surface of degree two--a beautiful minimal surface with tremendous symmetry and
aesthetic appeal. The Enneper surface belongs to the family of geometric,
minimal surfaces discovered by Alfred Enneper in 1864. A minimal surface is one
whose area becomes greater whenever it is pushed or pulled a little, ranging
from the simple flat plane to the well-known catenoid and helicoid. At every
point, minimal surfaces have saddle points, which give them great strength and
allow them to be carved very thin out of snow or ice.
Contest entrants were each allocated a 20-ton, 10x10x12-foot block of snow from which to create their sculpture using only
non-power hand tools. USA/Minnesota team members included Robert Longhurst, an
experienced wood and stone sculptor but snow-carving neophyte; returning team
members Stan Wagon and Dan Schwalbe, faculty in the Mathematics Department of
Macalester College; and Andy Cantrell, a sophomore at Macalester College. John
Bruning of the Tropel Corporation served as the non-sculpting team photographer
Although first place went to the Russian team for their
soaring tribute to the new millennium, and third place went to the Swiss team
for their intricately carved sphere, the USA/Minnesota team won two out of
the other three awards presented on Saturday. The team received the Artists'
Choice Award (voting by the sculptors) and the People's Choice Award (voting by
the approximately 15,000 event spectators). The Kids' Choice Award went to the
USA/Breckenridge team for its butterfly and rose.
Team captain Stan Wagon was very pleased with the community's positive
reaction to a mathematical sculpture. In his acceptance
speech, Wagon excitedly acknowledged that, even as mathematicians, "true
understanding can be obtained only by interacting with the piece in a truly
three-dimensional way. This is what snow allows us to do. In a very short period
of time and with a minimum of tools, we can sculpt a complicated shape and so
learn much more about it. It's a glorious opportunity and tremendous fun."
For further information and an extensive photographic display
of the event, visit the USA/Minnesota
team home page. The team is also featured in the MathTrek column on the MAA
Additional photos from last year's 1999
International Snow Sculpture Championships are also available.
Archive of electronic journals planned
February 1, 2000
Stanford University Libraries' HighWire Press believes that it
has solved the problem of long-term archiving of electronic journals, thus
removing one of the main reasons for librarians' reluctance to embrace the new
HighWire Press announced in February of this year that it has
comprehensive plan for preserving and assuring access to the more than 170
scholarly journals it hosts on the web. While protecting journal publishers, the
plan addresses complex archival problems that can cause libraries and other
consumers to be hesitant about subscribing to online academic journals.
"Preserving and protecting information is one of the core functions of
libraries," said Michael A. Keller, Stanford University librarian and
publisher of HighWire Press. "As librarians running HighWire as a service
to academia and its publishers, we are just as concerned with the preservation
of the online journals as we are with preserving rare books and manuscripts. The
techniques are different, but the goal is the same: to make sure the information
remains available and accessible, now and in the future."
text of the announcement .
now compatible with Mathematica Version 4
Application package updates
are now available for Calculus WIZ. To
update your current version of Calculus WIZ, go to www.wolfram.com/products/applications/updates/.
For more information about Calculus WIZ, go to www.wolfram.com/products/student/calcwiz/.
Mathematica 4 Supports Windows 2000
March 24, 2000
Wolfram Research has announced that Microsoft Windows 2000 has been added to the list of supported platforms for
"I've been running it on my own system for over six weeks now. Our experience is that Windows 2000 is a great environment to
run Mathematica in, and we've discovered no problems specific to the
shipping versions of Windows 2000," says John Fultz, Manager of Front End Technologies at Wolfram Research.
"Our Quality Assurance department has fully tested Mathematica 4 under Windows 2000 with very satisfactory results," he added. Windows 2000,
the latest operating system from Microsoft, integrates the best features of Windows 98 with the strength of the Windows NT platform technology.
Mathematica's platform-independent, leading-edge design makes it easily compatible with most new software and emerging technologies.
Mathematica Technical Center Established in Brazil
April 14, 2000
A new Mathematica Technical Center (MTC) at the
Federal of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) in Brazil was inaugurated on March 29,
The opening ceremony included presentations by Professor Segen
Estefen, Director of COPPE/UFRJ, and Professor Renato Cotta, General
Coordinator for the MTC, as well as a videoconference with strategic
executives from Wolfram Research, Inc. The event included a tour of
new training and technical facilities, which are hosted by the Laboratory
Transmission and Technology of Heat of the Mechanical Engineering
of EE/COPPE, UFRJ.
The MTC is a Mathematica training, research, and consulting center under
co-sponsorship and technical support of Wolfram Research. The MTC will
provide the general public with Mathematica training and consulting
on both an individual and a group basis.
"The idea for the Mathematica Technical Center came from conversations I
with Professor Renato Cotta and Professor Mikhail Mikhailov at the
university during my trip to Brazil last September, and we're delighted to
see this idea become a reality so quickly," said Anya Foreman,
Business Development Executive for Wolfram Research.
For more information about the consulting and training services offered at
the MTC, visit http://www.lttc.com.ufrj.br/mtc
or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
MathML International Conference 2000
The first international conference on MathML will be hosted by
Wolfram Research at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign,
on October 20-21, 2000.
This conference will present current research and applications
involving MathML (Mathematical Markup Language), an XML application
for describing mathematical notation and capturing both its presentation
and its content. The MathML standard has been adopted by the World
Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an international organization that
defines the formats for storing and transmitting web information.
The conference embraces all areas of MathML technologies, including
rendering, authoring, converting, and archiving. It is the aim of
the conference to bring together all those who are interested or
involved in the future of math on the web.
For more information, visit http://www.mathmlconference.org/