Upon winning the Nemmers Prize for her work in theoretical signal processing, Ingrid Daubechies, the James B. Duke Professor of Mathematics and Electrical and Computer Engineering, knew exactly what to do with the prize money: she commissioned artwork from mathematical sculptor George Hart, who designed "Geometry Ascending a Staircase" for display in the atrium of the Fitzpatrick Center, where the entire community could enjoy the colorful forms.
The four orbs that compose the sculpture were assembled during a "sculpture barn raising" in October 2013, which Hart orchestrated. Over the course of a day, around 100 volunteers joined 120 precut aluminum shapes using 1440 nuts and bolts and 2880 washers, before the orbs were hoisted to the top of the 75-foot atrium with pulleys.
“Both math and art are about enjoying seeing things and understanding what you are looking at. There are deep fundamental connections there.”