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Burhaneddin Sandıkçı

"Beauty attracts the eye. It makes people stop and look."

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Burhaneddin Sandıkçı, associate professor of operations management, is learning the Sülüs style of Arabic calligraphy, an art form of elegantly exaggerated Arabic text. The precision with which each curl of ink must be engineered to meet its neighbor appeals to the mathematically minded Sandıkçı. "In research, I use equations to solve business problems," he explained. "Calligraphy takes a similar kind of planning, how to fit the letters together in your design." Calligraphers often choose text from the Koran, a subject choice dating back to the early days of Islam, when secular art was seen as a distraction from a life of piety. Enchanted by the beauty of the letters, the reader may stop, read the passage, and perhaps ponder its meaning. In pursuit of a craft that takes 20 years to master, Sandıkçı, who was photographed at the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute by Chris Strong, has time to stop, look, and ponder.–Alexandra Batty 

Last Updated 4/21/14