The Rulpidon: a fascinating sculpture for a mathematician | Lecture

Wednesday 31st July | 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

LIVE Lit & Phil Event | FREE

Rulpidon_SBG – Copy

Rulpidon | Image provided by promoter

Wednesday 31st of July | 6:00pm

A lecture by Professor of Mathematics Sylvie Benzoni-Gavage.


Ulysse Lacoste’s Rulpidon is both a sober and fascinating shape that can roll surprisingly smoothly and has an intriguing number of “holes”. This can inspire various thoughts in a mathematician’s mind, including the crazy idea of designing colourful maps of it subject to certain constraints. The Rulpidon made me embark on an enthralling journey dotted with drawings and other manual work. Come along with no prior knowledge required and join me as we walk paths that may challenge your intuition. Meanwhile, you will get a glimpse of what it feels to be a mathematician confronted by a novel problem, as innocent looking as it might be, and how creativity and perseverance come into play.

Sylvie Benzoni-Gavage, Professor of Mathematics | Image provided by promoter

Short biography

Sylvie Benzoni-Gavage is Professor of Mathematics at the Université de Lyon, France, and Director of the Institut Henri Poincaré, Paris. She has made many fundamental contributions to the theory of hyperbolic partial differential equations.

Sylvie is also actively involved in promoting Mathematics to the general public. She has recently published the book “Le Rulpidon sous toutes ses coutures” (Dunod, 2024) on the relationship between mathematics and the arts – sculpture, drawing and painting.

A LIVE Lit & Phil Event | FREE

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This talk is part of the Isaac Newton Institute Satellite Programme on “Emergent phenomena in nonlinear dispersive waves“, 22 July to 16 August 2024, run jointly by Northumbria University and Newcastle University.

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