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Press Releases

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Delp Presents 'Playing With Surfaces: Spheres, Monkey Pants and Zippergons' Friday, October 10, at SU

Dr. Kelly DelpSALISBURY, MD---In 2010, the world of mathematics and the world of high fashion collided … and it turned out that, in some respects, they weren’t that different.

The unlikely collaboration began when Dai Fujiwara, director of design for the Issey Miyake fashion house of Tokyo, contacted William Thurston, professor of mathematics and computer science at Cornell University and winner of the prestigious Fields International Medal for Outstanding Discoveries in Mathematics. He had read about Thurston’s use of tree leaves and vegetables in teaching geometry. Fujiwara similarly had used oranges in a presentation about fashion design for students in Japan.

Following discussions with Thurston, and a visit to Cornell, Fujiwara decided to base Miyake’s 2010 spring collection on the eight geometries for three-dimensional manifolds — concepts common in the world of mathematics, but not in the world of fashion.

In 2011, one year before his death, Thurston published a paper with Dr. Kelly Delp, Salisbury University alumnus and then-assistant professor of mathematics at Buffalo State College, NY, on building surfaces. The article appeared in the Bridges Coimbra Conference Proceedings in connection with the 2011 Bridges Conference at the University of Coimbra, Portugal. The conference focuses on connections between mathematics, music, art, architecture and culture.

Two years later, Delp wrote about those studies in the paper “High Fashion Meets Higher Education Mathematics” for the Mathematical Association of America journal Math Horizons. The article was anthologized in Princeton University Press’ The Best Writing on Mathematics: 2013.

Now an assistant professor of mathematics at Ithaca College, NY, Delp returns to her Alma Mater to discuss that research with SU students during the presentation “Playing with Surfaces: Spheres, Monkey Pants and Zippergons” 3 p.m. Friday, October 10, in Perdue Hall’s Bennett Family Auditorium.

Earning her B.A. in mathematics from SU in 1997, Delp was named that year’s Most Promising Mathematician at the University. She received her M.S. in mathematics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Sponsored by the Mathematics and Computer Science Department, and the Richard A. Henson School of Science and Technology, admission to her talk is free and the public is invited.

For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU website at

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