Math for Liberal Arts Poster Presentation

For Math 100, a class that focuses on students who do not major in a science, Mathematics and Computer Science Instructor Rosemarie Wait tries to “incorporate a little something from each student’s major.” The curriculum starts with the history of math (for the history buffs) and then transitions into geometry in art. Students also study the financial world and review how to calculate interest, mortgages and loans using Excel. “We finish with a section on statistics and probability, and how to interpret graphs and information that is constantly in the news,” says Wait. The goal is to make the students informed consumers.

The students recently participated in a poster session for which they had to find where math is applied in either their field of study or a hobby. They displayed their work in the Pfahler Atrium on Feb. 22. so other students on campus could see that math can be interesting and fun. “They did a great job showing that math does exist in everything we do, and that everyone can do [math] and appreciate it,” says Wait. Some of the posters are featured below.

First-year students Ann Crowley (Art History) and Brenda Stecconi (French) explored the strong connection between optical illusions and math. Optical illusions use many geometric concepts to convey a distortion of the eye.

“Optical Illusions and Tessellations”
First-year students Bayo Adeyemo and Cathy Jo Crane created a tessellation made up of regular polygons. They defined optical illusions and gave examples of each type (literal, physiological, and cognitive).

“What is a Fractal?”
Fractal is a geometric pattern that is repeated at ever smaller scales to produce irregular shapes and surfaces that cannot be represented by classical geometry.

An explanation of the Mayan calendar, which ends on December 21, 2012.

“The History of Probability (in a nutshell)”

“The Golden Ratio in Architecture on Campus” by English majors MJ McGinn and Katie Holms. “For our project we studied the golden ratio in architecture on campus. We found that many of the more modern buildings did not feature the golden ratio while some of the older buildings such as Pfahler Hall featured many golden ratios.”

Environmental Studies majors Molly Serfass 2014 (above) and Ken Lee 2015 presented “The Golden Ratio in Mozart’s Music.” The Golden Ratio (a/b=(a+b)/a=phi =1.62), is often used in art to determine shapes that are pleasing to the eye. The golden ratio can even be applied to Mozart’s music, but in this case the ratio demonstrates something that is pleasing to the ear. It is still debated today as to if the golden ratio just happens by chance, or if Mozart purposefully put it in his music.

English majors Brittany Deitch 2013 and Tara Leszkowicz 2013 (above) explored “Mathematics in Poetry.” Poetry is a form of art, and this poster explores syllabic structure, rhythm, metric feet and shape of poems as both auditory and visual experiences.