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Sample Course

Sample Course: Mathematics and What it Means to Be Human

In fall 2011, Michele Osherow, associate professor of English, and Manil Suri, professor of mathematics, team taught HUM120, the humanities seminar required for freshmen Humanities Scholars. They called their seminar “Mathematics and What it Means to Be Human.”  Below, see a video in which they discuss this unusual collaboration between the humanities and mathematics:

The seminar led to several interesting student projects in the arts and humanities that used mathematical ideas as their foundation. Explore some of these projects below.

Video: The Golden Ratio: Why do we find certain images beautiful? >> Desiree Sterling ’15 and Jen Wachtel ’15 provide a multimedia answer to the question “Why do we find certain images beautiful?” based on the mathematical concept of the golden ratio

Music from Mathematics: Transformations of Trigonometric Functions >> Amanda Burns ’15 interprets trigonometric functions musically, creating a composition that is not only melodious, but also illustrates properties of Sines and Cosines.

Short Story with Chaos: The Insanity of George Gregory Harris >> Christine Cruz ’15 uses chaos theory to imagine an alternative world, one where Abraham Lincoln might never have become president

Prezi Presentation: The Philosophy of Irrationality >> Matthew Poissant ’15 delves into the philosophical implications of irrational numbers and concludes that we live in a world where perfection might not be possible

Monologue: The Golden Calf >> Daniel Roeder ’15 explores the concepts of symmetry and proportion through the character of Mr. Tajomaru, a middle-aged artist, whose fixation on mathematical beauty leads him to self-destruction.

Oulipo Poetry >> The students create their own forms of oulipian poetry and write examples of established forms.
Arielle Erenrich: Set Poetry / Snowball
Jennifer Helt: The Latinus / Snowball
Yoo-Jin Kang: Musical Ten Set / Inverse Snowball
Daniel Roeder: Pretentious Bohemian Meal Thief Poem / The Beautiful Outlaw
Jen Wachtel: The Braid / Snowball