Over one hundred onlookers assembled outside the Simons Center for the dedication of the long-awaited Umbilic Torus, a sculpture directly influenced by the artist’s style, which is stated as being a “fusion of mathematics and art.”

The sculpture, which measures 24 feet tall and weighs in at nearly 10 tons, is the result of Ferguson’s distinct, mathematically-driven style, which was evident in his other pieces on display in the gallery of the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics at the time of the dedication.

In attendance were President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., Jim Simons, creator of the sculpture Helaman Ferguson, as well as several close family members and others involved in the sculpture’s creation.

Made almost entirely out of tinted bronze, the large donut-shaped sculpture took nearly two years to complete. In that time, Helaman and his team mathematically determined the unique pattern etched into the sculpture’s surface and built a machine with the purpose of having it etch the markings, rather than having it done by hand. The piece also features a single seam, spanning from one side of the donut, through the middle, and ending on the other side, which was also said to have been carefully planned via heavy number crunching.

According to Stanley, the sculpture “emphasizes the important relationship between math, science, art and the humanities,” as its placement has it sitting with the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics to the west and the academic mall to the east.

Jim Simons, who is notable for having donated $150 million to the university last December and for being the namesake of the Simons Center itself, stated at the dedication that he feels that the Umbilic Torus was “the most elegant and appropriate sculpture for [the] setting.”


Tom is a photographer, writer, and the former Managing Editor of the Stony Brook Press. He likes chili cook-offs, cats, hot dogs, and viewers like you.

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