Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Visceral Math

Math on Display - Julie J. Rehmeyer @ Math Trek

There's a strange sort of beauty when mathematics is translated into art. The theories and formulas of various fields used in an artistic way produce some of the most stunning visual representations of a theorem that no description can possibly contain. The image I've used here is one created by Michael Field of the University of Houston. It's a simple creation using a simple formula, but the visual gives you an idea of what mathematics actually does in the real world, or at least is possible. Indeed, it is art, as it evokes an emotional, aesthetic response. What this reminds me of are the parasols of Japanese culture, intricate in detail but dead simple once you figure out how it works. For a nation worried about its students in the realms of math and science, I think using images like this to show how math can work in the real world would prove incredibly educational. I just wish teachers had more time to incorporate this kind of mathematical artwork into their class schedules.

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