21 Oct

Seeing Math through other eyes

As one of their projects, students in my class this fall wrote about something they’ve seen that sparked mathematical questions and ideas for them. The series of posts below shows the results of their work. I hope you’ll enjoy seeing math through their eyes as much as I have.

20 Oct

Doing Math: The Math Behind Sand Piles

The mathematical purpose of this project is to explore the geometry of the piles that form when sand is poured on different 2D shapes. Specifically, we investigate the ridges and apexes that form on these piles. In the case of the polygonal shapes, we define a ridge as where two planes meet at a line,… [Read more]

19 Oct

The Sights and Sounds of Harvard Stadium

By Sara Bobok and Do Hyun Kim Making Math Material Fall 2018   Introduction   Figure 1. Harvard Stadium (Photo taken by Sara Bobok) Pivotal to community building on Harvard’s campus is the Harvard Stadium, a space for sports, theater, and school spirit. Fascinating mathematics are necessary to allow for the Stadium to fulfill these… [Read more]

03 Oct

Trees of Willow, True Love, and Tiling

Trees of Willow, True Love, and Tiling Mai Nguyen Math 168: Making Math Material I’ve been eating off these plates ever since I can remember. No matter how many beautiful or interesting pieces of dishware in our family’s house, I always gravitate towards the “Willow Plate” design. My mom told me the story of the… [Read more]

03 Oct

Arches and Sangaku in Memorial Hall

   Memorial Hall Housing the largest undergraduate dining hall, a lecture hall, a student bar, classrooms, music rooms and more, Mem Hall is almost always bustling with student activity. Unlike other buildings on Harvard’s campus however, the architectural style of Annenberg Hall is unique, a fusion of New England brick with gothic arches, cathedral-like stained… [Read more]

03 Oct

Illuminating Angles: Preserving Artwork Through Math

For those unfamiliar with art conservation, it may seem like common sense to show all of an artist’s works together side by side, no matter the medium. And while art is art, the varying chemical structures of art media and materials mean that different pieces of art react in different ways to sunlight, temperature, and moisture. Because of this, paintings, paper-based drawings, and sculptures are historically displayed in separate galleries with individualized environmental settings.  To design a space […]

03 Oct

The Behavior of Concrete Stripes and Lattices

Harvard’s new Smith Campus Center opened less than a month ago, and ever since then I’ve done most of my studying there. While the main Harvard Commons area is all brand-new wood and glass, the building’s main corridor is dominated by large, exposed concrete walls. While exiting the building one day, I noticed that these… [Read more]

02 Oct

The Curvature of Hammocks

Hammocks often symbolize ease, relaxation and simplicity. Yet the mathematics of these structures contrasts with their seemingly effortless nature. The image above shows a hammock in Quincy courtyard, captured on a Monday afternoon. The particular Quincy courtyard hammock shown above consists of a rigid curved stand, and knotted netting attached to horizontal wooden bars. The… [Read more]