In January 1991 I attended the annual AMS/MAA meetings at San Francisco:
hard to forget the occasion, as the Gulf War started during the Geometry
AMS session I chaired! There was another geometrical event I hardly noticed
at that time but was destined to play an important role in my life: Donald
Crowe's MAA minicourse on "Symmetry analysis of repeated patterns", based
on his 1988 book "Symmetries of Culture: Theory and Practice of Plane Pattern
Analysis" (jointly with archaeologist Dorothy Washburn).
Luckily, my colleague Margaret Groman did notice and attend the minicourse
... and was sufficiently inspired to start thinking about creating a
course here at SUNY Oswego, consistent with the restructuring of our
General Education program and a novel Human Diversity requirement.
Margaret's interest produced a letter by
Professor Crowe, accompanied by two dozens of photographs from his Summer
1990 trip to Fiji and
Tonga , complete with handwritten comments
. Donald's generosity and willingness to share his work with
others paid off a year and half later: Margaret started teaching MAT 103
in the Fall of 1992, and I joined the crew three years later; MAT 103 no
longer fulfills the Human Diversity requirement, but many students are
still being exposed to an attractive, accessible, little known area of
Although I didn't hear anything to that effect during his May 2000 retirement conference ,
I understand that Professor Crowe is now completing another book, "Symmetry
Comes of Age" (again jointly with Dorothy Washburn): Margaret Groman and
myself wish them the best!