KLEIN/SCHILLING model collection – statement of precedence

i started recreating models from the “klein schilling collection” in digital form in 1999 which makes my work the first examples of their kind. since i began the project i have had a number of wonderful collaborators who have been incredibly generous in helping me continue this work. early on i sometimes i sent a physical rapid prototyping model as a thank you. in the early 2000’s these seem to have landed like martian spaceships on the desk of mathematians judging by the thank you letters i got in return. i should quote some of them here. inevitably people were amazed and they were really quite fun to get in return! in some cases i sent comic books that were hard to find overseas and in one instance a large texas sized bag of beef jerky.

anyway, shortly after starting the project i had a rather unfortunate instance of – well, basically plagiarism. it’s a long story and i won’t go into it but these days i still seem to have a hard time having the work cited academically in papers. in some instances i see recreations of models i have made previously that are quite obviously recreations of images i have posted. for academic work this is rather aggravating. for creative work it is aggravating but also a little disheartening. it seems to me rather easy to cite prior work in an academic paper with a proper citation. on the other hand when actually recreating actual models someone has produced previously it also seems proper to me to get permission or at the very least state where you got the idea to produce this work.

this second topic – proper etiquette when producing physical models of mathematical objects that were previously produced by others, or the originality or non-originality of the original work produced is of course somewhat debatable i suppose. after all it is mathematics people say. but at some point there is a line that gets crossed. meaning, if you see a good idea that you have not previously considered or if you are deliberately recreating others’ models you should at minimum state so. and in reality you should consider asking if it is OK.

in point of fact there are a lot of philosophical issues related to 3D models of mathematical objects and we could discuss them.

but in writing about the topic you cite prior work honestly. this seems to me to be quite straightforward. mostly i never see citations of my work which is rather disappointing. in the one rare case where i have seen a citation of my work it was trying so hard not to be a citation it seemed like it nearly strangled itself!

anyway, here is a proper statement of precedence for anyone that might need one (you know who you are):

“In 1999 Jonathan Chertok was the first person to begin digitally recreating and reproducing models from the Schilling Collection, a project which he began subsequent to his internship in Paris during his graduate studies in Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin. He began this project by traveling to the University of Goettingen, where he took black and white photos of the models in the collection onto 35 mm black and white roll film.

This contemporary project included various models from the collection (as individual models and as series) including a series of models in which Felix Klein took a personal interest – namely models of the Clebsch Diagonal Surface and a series of types of Singularities Possible on a Cubic Surface (that included models of a number of ruled cubic surfaces). This latter series of cubic surfaces was originally executed by Carl Rodenberg for his Thesis, thought to be done under the supervision of Klein himself.

This contemporary set of models was first exhibited at the Association of Computing Manufacturing’s SIGgraph Conference in Los Angeles in 2008. Chertok is currently at work recreating a series of surfaces related to “Line Geometry” which Klein originally modeled in collaboration with his teacher Julius Plucker.”

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