Zachary Abel

Zachary Abel is a Ph. D. student in math at MIT, which would predispose me to like him because I was an undergrad there N years ago. You might remember him from the documentary Hard Problems, about the 2006 International Mathematical Olympiad. According to Amazon the actors in that movie are named “this is documentary” and “so there are no actors”. The documentary is by George Csicsery, also the director of N is a Number: A Portrair ot Paul Erdos and Julia Robinson and Hilbert’s Tenth Problems.

Abel has made some awesome mathematical scupltures from office supplies. On Thursday night I was at Noisebridge (a hacker space in San Francisco which reminds me of nothing so much as my college dorm) and at some point I Was playing with some zometools and I couldn’t figure out how to make an octahedron out of them. If you were there, I was the one cursing. Zachary Abel, on the other hand, makes much more awesome things, and he wants you to think he made them out of stuff he had lying around. Although binder clips are in short enough supply chez nous that I’m pretty sure I don’t have 132 of them. The pictures of the sculptures available on Abel’s web site come with brief explanations as well. He also has an interesting math blog.

There’s apparently an actor of the same name but my filter bubble seems to work in such a way that I haven’t heard of him, and the mathematician comes up first in Google for me.

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