Math and Art, who would have thought..

15102007
I have been a big fan of MC Escher ever since my middle school Math teacher showed us his drawings. It was great last Monday to be exposed to more art that math was used to create. I think the whole meshing of the arts and math is awesome because generally speaking, the two seem to be on totally different ends of the spectrum.

Looking at the Escher poster I have in my room (http://www.claymath.org/gallery/escher.jpg) it’s really cool to think about the fact that multiple calculations were needed to create such optical illusions.

However, the most interesting thing about last Monday’s lecture, to me, was the golden ratio. The fact that it can be found in nature all over the place, and has been used in so many famous works of art is particularly interesting, mainly because it suggests that we can mathematically identify a particular ratio that we innately seem to find aesthetically pleasing. The masks that are made up of the golden ratio—and applied to the worlds “best looking people” is also fascinating. It suggests that there is a deep-rooted—scientific and mathematics explication of what beauty is. That somehow this formula is implanted somewhere in the brain stem (the most primitive part of our brain,) and that we subconsciously revert back to this calculation when determining the beauty of an object.

Obviously, this view leaves little room for the fact that there are different kinds of beauty, but nonetheless, it’s still an interesting concept to consider. It’s also interesting to see how many places the golden ratio can be found—even the debate that one of the pyramids is based on the golden ratio. I think it’s important for us to be able to see that math really can be found all around us, especially when quite a few of us (myself included) tend to constantly ponder the point of taking so many years of math (I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve asked myself when I’m going to EVER need to use some of the things I learn in math.) It makes math a little bit more bearable, in the sense that it allows us to see that math can be used outside of the classroom—and in everyday life for those of us who do not plan on being engineers, bankers etc. I loved the lecture… And- I also thought it was awesome to have Gil mention Battles because I’ve liked them ever since I saw them open for the Icarus Line 3 years ago. They’re awesome, and they put on an amazing show.

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