Mathematics in the Humanities

There is much future scope for mathematics to play a role in the way we explore subjects that have been traditionally regarded as more qualitative than quantitative. This is especially true with the advent of digital humanities. Below, I describe some of my activities in the intersection of the two fields.

The Mathematics of Being Human

A play written by Michele Osherow and myself. We have conducted several staged readings – and I have even been acting in it!

Tim Gunn’s video on Math and Fashion

Got to plug math for school kids in this great video produced by Scholastic. Aimed at showing kids how even a career in fashion needs math. Unfortunately, the Scholastic link no longer works.

New York Times Op-Eds

How to Fall in Love With Math (September 15, 2013) was the first math op-ed I wrote. This rose to the most e-mailed article for the day, but only made it to #2 for the week (I was bumped by the pope, who leapfrogged ahead with his comments.) The New York Times website quickly reached their maximum of 360 responses and terminated the ability to comment. For more math op-eds, please look here.

Mathematics and What it Means to Be Human

In Fall 2011, I teamed up with Professor Michele Osherow of the English Department at UMBC to conduct a seminar with the above title for the incoming Humanities Scholars class. The syllabus for this class can be found here. Some interesting student work from the class is available here (as is a video interview of Professor Osherow and myself).

Chronicle of Higher Education

Michele Osherow and I wrote a series of articles based on the above experience, which can be
found here.

Consultant for Folger Shakespeare Theater’s Production of Arcadia

Michele Osherow is also the dramaturg for DC’s Folger Shakespeare Theater. Our collaboration actually began in 2009, when she invited me to serve as the mathematical consultant for their production of Tom Stoppard’s play, Arcadia. I created a video for YouTube to explain the mathematical concepts in the play to theater-goers. Also wrote the material for a math website for the Folger and gave pre- and post-theater talks at the play venue for theater-goers (including one called “Fractal Friday”). Finally, I organized a public event to discuss the mathematics in the play with select cast and crew members through the auspices of the American Math Society and the Math Assoc of America.

Invited by Shaw Theater Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake (Ontario, Canada) to teach the mathematics in Arcadia at a seminar for theater-goers in August, 2013.

2009 Blazer Lecture in the Humanities, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY

I was invited to give this annual lecture that seeks to expand the humanities.