Sally Mann

Another actively working photographer, Sally Mann is just in the middle of her career. She was named America’s Best Photographer by Time magazine in 2001 for her stunning work of her family, as well as southern landscapes and her series of decomposing bodies. Her work has pushed buttons, from nude photographs of her children to rotting corpses, and she likes it that way. Students can study her work to see how it’s possible to keep a consistent style and vision, even when working with subjects that are completely unlike one another.

(taken from

Phillippe Halsman

Philippe Halsman is best known for his jumping photographs of famous subjects from the middle of the 20th century, from Richard Nixon to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Halsman’s body of work also includes surreal portraits of the artist Salvador Dali that leave the viewer puzzled and trying to figure out how the photograph was physically possible. Any photography student who is interested in pushing the envelope with portraits should study Phillipe Halsman’s portraiture.

(taken from

Diane Arbus

Norman Mailer said that “Giving a camera to Diane Arbus is like putting a live grenade in the hands of a child.” Her photographs are shocking, catching subjects in an unmasked moment, whether they were of famous writers and actors or transvestites. In this style, Arbus teaches a lesson about not aiming to capture the surface of a subject, but rather, working to reveal the subject’s true self through art.

(taken from

Salvador Dali

Dalí was a skilled draftsman, best known for the striking and bizarre images in his surrealist work. His painterly skills are often attributed to the influence of Renaissance masters. His best-known work, The Persistence of Memory, was completed in 1931. Dalí’s expansive artistic repertoire includes film, sculpture, and photography, in collaboration with a range of artists in a variety of media.

Dalí attributed his “love of everything that is gilded and excessive, my passion for luxury and my love of oriental clothes” to a self-styled “Arab lineage”, claiming that his ancestors were descended from the Moors.

Dalí was highly imaginative, and also had an affinity for partaking in unusual and grandiose behavior. His eccentric manner and attention-grabbing public actions sometimes drew more attention than his artwork to the dismay of those who held his work in high esteem and to the irritation of his critics.

(Taken from

Klein Bottle

If you want to give a mathematician something to try to wrap their head around, a Klein bottle is a good place to start. A real Klein bottle is an object with no inside and no outside that can only exist in four dimensions. These glass models exist in three, which means that unlike the real thing, they can actually hold liquid.
The difference between the models and the real thing is that by adding an extra dimension, you can make it so that the neck of the bottle doesn’t actually intersect the side of the bottle. Take a couple aspirin and try to picture that in your head.

(taken from


Gallium is a silvery metal with atomic number 31. It’s used in semiconductors and LEDs, but the cool thing about it is its melting point, which is only about 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If you hold a solid gallium crystal in your hand, your body heat will cause it to slowly melt into a silvery metallic puddle. Pour it into a dish, and it freezes back into a solid.
While you probably shouldn’t lick your fingers after playing with it, gallium isn’t toxic and won’t make you crazy like mercury does. And if you get tired of it, you can melt it onto glass and make yourself a mirror.

(taken from


The Gömböc is a self-righting object, which means that no matter which way you put it down, it stands itself back up. It’s like a Weeble, except it doesn’t cheat by having a weight at the bottom, and it’s the only shape that can do this.
The existence of a shape with these properties was conjectured in 1995, but it took ten years for someone to figure out how to actually make one that worked. And then everyone was embarrassed when it turned out that turtles had evolved this same basic shape in their shells a long time ago, to make it easier for them to roll themselves back over if they get flipped.

(taken from