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April 24, 2013

The Michael and Lily Atiyah Portrait Gallery

Posted by Simon Willerton

A new portrait gallery opened this week in the James Clark Maxwell Building which houses the Edinburgh University maths department. It consists of seventy portraits of mathematicians selected, as the name suggests, by Michael and Lily Atiyah.

Due to the magic of the internet, you do not have to travel to Edinburgh to see the exhibition as Andrew Ranicki, who helped organise the gallery, has made it available on his website.

The Michael and Lily Atiyah Portrait Gallery

The commentaries on each of the photographs give interesting personal insights of the Atiyahs. I’d definitely recommend that you younger mathematicians out there give them a read.

Posted at April 24, 2013 8:07 AM UTC

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Re: The Michael and Lily Atiyah Portrait Gallery

I’ll mention one of the commentaries which struck a chord with me and that is the description of Bott as “everyone’s favourite geometer”. I was lucky enough to meet Bott once over coffee, not long before his death and he was strikingly warm and charming towards me even though I was just a random mathematician who turned up at the café.

Posted by: Simon Willerton on April 24, 2013 9:10 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: The Michael and Lily Atiyah Portrait Gallery

The logo gracing each portrait page is the official logo of the School of Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh. It was designed n years ago by one Simon Willerton, when he was a graduate student here. It represents the connected sum of four trefoil knots in celtic-knot style.

http://www.maths.ed.ac.uk/news/the-michael-and-lily-atiyah-portrait-gallery

Posted by: Andrew Ranicki on April 24, 2013 10:20 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: The Michael and Lily Atiyah Portrait Gallery

The celtic knot logo was one of two logos I designed whilst at Edinburgh. The other, of which I’m particularly proud, is the logo for Andrew’s Scottish Topology seminar.

The Scottish flag is the Saltire or the cross of St Andrew (no relation to Prof Ranicki, I believe).

Scottish flag

It is clearly asking for the sides to be identified to form a torus, so I merely obliged. Thus was born something which represents both topology and Scotland.

Scottish topology logo

Posted by: Simon Willerton on April 24, 2013 10:42 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: The Michael and Lily Atiyah Portrait Gallery

This is the celtic knot logo designed by Simon for the School of Mathematics in Edinburgh

Edinburgh mathematics logo

Incidentally, the Scottish Topology Seminar is now a joint production with Brendan Owens in Glasgow and Richard Hepworth in Aberdeen.

Posted by: Andrew Ranicki on April 25, 2013 10:02 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

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