EGMT 1520: Humanizing Mathematics

What is Mathematics? What do you think is the purpose of learning Mathematics? What connections do you see between doing Mathematics and being human? Which virtues do you acquire by doing Mathematics? We’ve all heard the phrase “I am not a math person”. Maybe we even used it ourselves. In this class, we will argue that there’s no such thing as “not a math person”: if your brain can process language, it can handle math. We will try to overcome the narrow, but widespread idea of Mathematics as an isolated discipline built on repetitive, dry formulas, and only intended for a small elite group. In other words, we will understand Mathematics differently. To develop our answers to the motivating questions, we will discuss facets of Mathematics that are not always emphasized: the search for beauty, symmetries, and hidden patterns; the aspiration to truth and logic soundness; pure curiosity, exploration, and play. This broader idea of what can constitute Mathematics is much closer to the way that Mathematicians think and shows how Mathematics cultivates virtues essential for human flourishing. We will explore all the human virtues that Mathematics builds and its connections to other fields, such as visual arts, music, literature, architecture, politics, social justice, history, among others. We will have the opportunity to connect to Mathematicians whose work touches other fields, and we will document these newly discovered aspects of Mathematics in a final project and in a diary of our journey together.
Years Offered: 
Semester Offered: 
Fall Quarter One: August 22 – October 11
Day | Time: 
TuTh 9:30am - 10:45am
TuTh 11:00am - 12:15pm