When the University of Utah decided to expand the Cowles Mathematics Building, they set up a competition for artists. Sponsored by the Utah Arts Council, the competition asked for "art that would identify the building as a 'House of Mathematics' and convey its wide-ranging influence." Anna Campbell Bliss was the winning artist, and this small book reproduces her murals with extensive discussion of how and why they were made.
Bliss ended up designing a series of murals, each of which is made up of several 18-inch square panels. Some panels were aluminum, others were black anodized metal. Some panels were colored by screening, others were laser etched, and a few were painted by hand.
While one might question choices made here or there, the overall effect is quite nice. The book is an interesting example of art inspired by mathematics, and may also be useful for departments who wish to add something of a "wow" factor to their buildings.
Fernando Q. Gouvêa is Carter Professor of Mathematics at Colby College.