Beauty of mathematics shines in Concinnitas Portfolio


The Concinnitas Portfolio made its debut late August in the Wold Center Castrucci Gallery. When Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at Dartmouth College Daniel Rockmore prompted world-renowned mathematicians and physicists to transcribe what they feel is the “most beautiful mathematical expression,” he was not disappointed.

Ten esteemed participants, all of whom have achieved greatness in the STEM field, submitted their responses. The responses maintained their integrity thanks to the ingenious use of negative space and traslation of the contributors’ own penmanship.

Although all of the contributors to the portfolio have an undeniably strong background in mathematics, each have differing views of beauty when it comes to quantitative laws.

For instance, New York University Professor Emeritus Peter Lax found beauty in simplicity. However, where there’s simplicity, there’s most defninitely a more complex concept waiting to be understood by curious minds.In tune with his philosophy, he made his scientific work focused on conservation laws his mission. For his work, Lax was awarded the Wolf Prize in 1987 and the Abel Prize in 2005.

In contrast, Princeton University Professor Emeritus, Freeman Dyson, proclaimed that the MacDonald Equation was “the most beautiful thing that [he] ever discovered.” Although the equation, is arguably less “useful” than, say, conservation laws, it draws upon traditional artistic concepts, especially symmetry, making this equation more like a literal work of art. Dyson won the Templeton Prize in 2000.

Of course, this is just a brief summarization of just a handful of the equations represented. While the subject matter differs in concept and application, there seems to be a universal connection between the equations’ beauty and how they were involved in important and life-changing, moments of these notable mathematicians’ and scientists’ lives. To get the full scope of how the Concinnitas Portfolio provides us a window into its contributors’ lives, pay the Castrucci Gallery a visit. The hours of operation are 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. daily. The Concinnitas Portfolio will be on display through June 30, 2018.


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