
David Laidlaw '84, ScM '86I first met Tom in his freshman linear algebra class, Math 54. It was a great math class and the first one where I, much to my surprise, wrote a paper. A paper in math class? That hadn't happened in my high school math classes. I later took and TA'ed one of Tom's Math 8 classes about the fourth dimension and learned differential geometry from him. After the introduction to geometry a la tfb in Math 54, I got involved in the graphics group in the CS department and developed software for modeling and rendering 2manifolds in 3D and 4D. We (Tom and a group his associates) made some films and some great pictures and published them in a few papers, a monograph that Tom wrote, a bunch of book covers, the SIGGRAPH slide set and video review, a Berkeley Mathematics sweatshirt (which I still have), and a record jacket. Jpeg's, avi files, and Adobe Premiere hadn't been invented yet; we produced the films by aiming a 16mm camera at a screen and having it click away, one frame at a time, overnight. The clicking away part was done with a little hardware box that we had to build to control the shutter. In the morning the film went up to Boston via a Bonanza bus, and when it came back we edited it using a razor blade and glue. It's astonishing that we actually produced films! I took away from those classes and our collaborative research a better understanding of and appreciation for geometry, more awareness of the importance of applications of math, and experience in the kind of collaborative computational toolbuilding that I spend most of my time doing today. I'm back at Brown now as an Associate Professor in the Computer Science Department. My research group builds collaborative visualization tools much along the lines of what I did with Tom back in the early 80's. Tom and I have even done a little more collaborating since I returned, coadvising a few students on project related to the fourth dimension and I hope that we'll be able to continue!  


