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Sunday, July 9, 2006  11:00 AM

Today's birthday:
Tom Hanks, star of
"The Da Vinci Code"

Ben Nicholson
and the Holy Grail

Part I:
A Current Exhibit

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"Kufi Blocks"*

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by Ben Nicholson,
Illinois Institute of Technology

Part II:
Some Background

A. Diamond Theory, a 1976 preprint containing, in the original version, the designs on the faces of Nicholson's "Kufi blocks," as well as some simpler traditional designs, and

B. "Block Designs," a web page illustrating design blocks based on the 1976 preprint.

Part III:
The Leonardo Connection

See Modern-Day Leonardos, part of an account of a Leonardo exhibit at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry that includes Ben Nicholson and his "Kufi Blocks."

Part IV:
Nicholson's Grail Quest

"I'm interested in locating the holy grail of the minimum means to express the most complex ideas."

-- Ben Nicholson in a 2005 interview

Nicholson's quest has apparently lasted for some time.  Promotional material for a 1996 Nicholson exhibit in Montreal says it "invites visitors of all ages to experience a contemporary architect's search for order, meaning and logic in a world of art, science and mystery."  The title of that exhibit was "Uncovering Geometry."

For web pages to which this same title might apply, see Quilt Geometry, Galois Geometry, and Finite Geometry of the Square and Cube.

* "Square Kufi" calligraphy is used in Islamic architectural ornament.  I do not know what, if anything, is signified by Nicholson's 6x12 example of "Kufi blocks" shown above.