Humanistic Mathematics



Symbol-Crunching With the Gambler's Ruin Problem by Doron Zeilberger
The Gambler's Ruin problem is an apt metaphor for life. A tiny advantage gets amplified enormously in an artificial way, and just being a tiny bit luckier (or smarter or stronger or better-looking) gets you very far in the long run. That's why my good friend Geroge appears to be a so much better backgammon player than his wife Martha, even though he is only slightly better. But today, thanks to our silicon brethern, we can answer many more questions, exactly and symbolically, than Abraham De Moivre and James Bernoulli could answer three hundred years ago.

Mathematics: Why the brain sees maths as beauty by James Gallagher
Brain scans show a complex string of numbers and letters in mathematical formulae can evoke the same sense of beauty as artistic masterpieces and music from the greatest composers. (also see full journal article by Semir Zeki et al)

Science Museum unveils £5m plan for 'world's foremost' mathematics gallery
The layout of the new permanent gallery at the Science Museum in London is inspired by mathematical ideas.

Fibonacci clock: can you tell the time on the world's most stylish nerd timepiece? by Alex Bellos
A clock designed by Philippe Chrétien displays the time using the "golden rectangle," a representation of ther Fibonacci series.


Nature by Numbers by Cristóbal Vila
A movie inspired by numbers, geometry and nature.

The Most Important Video You Will Ever See
Physicist Albert Bartlett explains the exponential function and the consequences of steady growth.

Visualizing Pi: Mural with High School Math Students, by Ellie Balk
A mural project that uses mathematics to connect Brooklyn students to their community through a visualization of Pi.

Golden Ratio - Making a Math Metal Anthem, by Numberphile
Phi is embedded in every aspect of a "Math Metal" song.

Mathematics and Beauty
“Is mathematics in any way related to the concept that the ordinary person would call beautiful?” Round table discussion.

Can Math Equations Be A Form of Art? by Tara Long
A new study shows how math can be perceived as a beautiful piece of art in the brain.


Golden Meaning: graphic artists depict the golden ratio – in pictures
The world’s top graphic designers illustrate the maths of the golden ratio.

Book Descriptions

Love and Math by Edward Frenkel
Mathematician Edward Frenkel shows that mathematics, far from occupying a specialist niche, goes to the heart of all matter, uniting us across cultures, time, and space.


National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act Of 1965, National Endowment for the Arts Appropriations and related legislation
Mathematics is not mentioned in the Act but can be found on the National Foundation for the Arts site.

What is mathematical beauty?
What are examples of mathematical beauty?
What role could/should mathematical beauty play in the teaching of mathematics?

George W. Hart
A mathematical sculptor/designer whose mission is to show the world that math is cool.