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Chaotic Escape 1 by Mark J Stock

Mesh #3 Iso by Mark J Stock

On our cover we have a piece called Spherical Dendrite. It’s one of a series of 50 unique 3D-printed models. This particular model was created from a simulation of “diffusion-limited aggregation constrained to a sphere”. The key element of this process is Brownian motion. This describes the random motion of particles suspended in a fluid, a phenomenon named aer botanist Robert Brown who first observed it when looking at pollen grains in water. The mathematical representation of this effect is called the Wiener process. This is a stochastic process that starts at zero, is continuous, and has independent increments that are normally distributed with zero mean and a variance equal to the time steps. It is also used to model noise in electronic engineering, as well as appearing in the Black–Scholes model in the field of finance. To build the object on the cover, virtual particles were introduced into a sphere where they diffused through 3D Brownian motion until they came into contact with an existing part of the structure, sticking to it and eventually producing the final object. Another recent work by Mark is his Chaotic Escape series. In these images, fluid tries to escape from the centre of a supernova. He describes this process as “like pushing on a string when everything is a string. Chaotic Escape is a series of works from perfect virtual simulations of an impossible condition, created by intricate algorithms, and performed on a desktop supercomputer.” Mesh #3 Iso again exploits the freedom of fluid dynamics calculations to work with initial conditions that do not exist in the real world. Hence once again we create a structure that has a familiar behaviour, ‘despite its obvious artificiality’. The Structure series, from where this piece is taken, strips the fluids portrayed from all of their surrounding visual context, thereby exposing their computational origins. Thus through Mark’s work, we see the ability of mathematics to free us from the constraints of our physical world; allowing us to use our imagination to merge science and art to create stunning images. Mark J Stock has been showcasing his work since 2000 and has been in over 80 curated and juried exhibitions since 2001. For more of his art visit Rudolf Kohulák (pictured) is a PhD student at UCL working on the modelling of freeze-drying processes.


spring 2016

Chalkdust, Issue 03  

Popular mathematics magazine from UCL

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