© Gene Oldfield

Gene Oldfield
theory of practically everything

Gene Oldfield currently resides and teaches in Sacramento, California. He holds two masters degrees; one in mathematics from CSUS and one in physics from UCDavis, where he also received his PhD in electrical engineering and computer science (with a dissertation addressing Mobile Robot Navigation). Oldfield originally became interested in mathematics because of the literal and figurative beauty of the equations.

One definition of beauty, or elegance, compares simplicity and scope. A simple theory that explains much deserves attention. The ratio of prediction to text is our measure. Of course, a simple explanation may not do; Albert Einstein suggested making it just simple enough, but not more. An elegant theory is often more believable - and true. Einstein's relativity is a case in point. Maxwell's four equations, encoding the electromagnetic fields, is the example that inspired Einstein. Oldfield will explore the beauty of the world of mathematical descriptions - the ones with both scope and simplicity. Also present will be the high priests' use of e and their methods to make the calculus vanish.

"With this I state the thrust of my work. I will suggest ideas that explain practically everything (scope) using methods often found in algebra for schools (simple)".

Maxwell united Electricity and Magnetism (EM) in 1864. Charges cause electric fields; with each "+" charge starting a line and each "-" charge ending a line. The magnetic fields are loops that circle, or loop around, moving charges. A change in the electrical field causes a magnetic field and vice-versa, this is how light travels. EM fields are in space and require vector methods. Many of the fields or motions are perpendicular to each other. For light, if E is along the x-axis and M along the y then the light moves along the z-axis.

These are Maxwell's Equations with all constants one. The triangles are read "del" and represent change. The first equation states the electric fields are generated by charges. The last reads: the perpendicular change (del cross) in the magnetic field equals the time change in the electric plus the current. These equations were art to Einstein and represent much of our physical world. As stated they are the simplest representation of Maxwell that gives a glimpse of their meaning.

Oldfield will investigate these ideas and conclusions by drawing directly on the gallery walls. His passion for mathematics and its critical history, along with the hieroglyphic beauty of the written equation, transcends boundaries of art and science. It is the creative process - trial and error - that intrigues us. In this light, we develop this exhibition in the context of a contemporary art gallery and hope to elicit dialogue on this topic.

Exhibition: May 28 - June 28, 2004
Gallery hours: Fri-Mon 12 am - 6 pm and by appointment

Gallery 1
177 North 9th Street
USA-Brooklyn, NY 11211
Telephone 00718 599 2144