Sunday, April 10, 2016

Week 2: Mathematics and Art

As a Mathematics major, I have long come to appreciate its beauty for its myriad of applications to sciences and engineering, as well as in its own right. Perhaps not as art in the literal sense, but I cannot recall a moment where I haven't regarded Mathematics as a form of "art". If one were familiar with field theory, the recognition of complex numbers as the field extension of the reals, and the reals being the field extension of the rationals wasn't as trivial as it seemed. After all, what are "i"s,"e"s,and "pi"s? However, Leonhard Euler found a simple, elegant formula that collectively summarizes these three monstrosities.
Euler's Identity
Sample computer code
Gateway Arch, St Louis

As a testament to its ubiquity, Mathematics is used almost everywhere, whether consciously or subconsciously, as Prof Vesna aptly captured in her statement "when we use computers we are using math". Even simple events such are mouse-clicks are explicitly programmed using algorithms which are inherently of mathematical nature. 
The development of Mathematics also had a profound impact in the history of arts. With progress in the former, realism in art work has been enhanced. It was mentioned in Prof Vesna's lecture video that the discovery of mathematical principles behind the concept of "perspectives" led to a more scientific methodology behind perspective drawings. For example, the square tiles on the floor in a famous painting by Leon Battista Alberti led to a single vanishing point at the center of the art piece. 

Another fantastic demonstration of the amalgamation of Mathematics and Art is in the construction in the Gateway Arch in St Louis, which is inspired by the shape of a parabola. Led by the dynamics between Mathematics and Arts, the projection of a parabolic curve on paper to that of a real-life artifact such as the Gateway Arch is indeed something to marvel at. 
Mathematics is definitely a prime example of a bridge between the two cultures mentioned in Week 1. In this course, I hope to further explore the dynamics between arts and technology, and well as the amalgamation of the two. 

1. Vesna, Victoria. “”Youtube, 9 April 2012. Web. 10 Apr. 2016. <> 

2. "Euler's Identity: The most beautiful equation". LiveScience, 30 June 2015. Web. 10 April 2016. <>

3. "Sample computer code" N.d. Web 10 April 2016.<>

4. "Perspective drawing". Once upon an Art Room. 14 March 2012. Web. 10 April 2016. <>

5. "12 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in St. Louis". Planetware. N.d. Web. 10 April 2016. <>

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