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The Mathematical Association of America (MAA) sponsors an annual MAA Distinguished Lecture as an occasion to celebrate the many joys of mathematics. Professor Annalisa Crannell of Franklin and Marshall College used this opportunity to talk about "The Good, The Bad, and the Pretty" of mathematics. Her wonderful talk can be found here, along with an interview that gives her the chance to talk about her own work. In her talk, she focuses in on the use of mathematics to create realistic art. Specifically, she talks about how most realistic art attempts to depict a three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional canvas. Of course, this presents certain challenges, and she draws on examples from the work of Albrecht Durer to offer some perspective on this dilemma. One of the many highlights of her talk is when she presents a challenge to the audience involving an artist, a pedestal, and a squirrel.
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