Sunday, June 26, 2016

Week 1: Math + Art

The relationship between math and art is something that I was introduced to very early in life as my math instructors tried to expose us to ways in which math is applicable in other disciplines that are more artistic as opposed to scientific.

I believe that nature is the most amazing form of art. The tremendous beauty that encompasses nature is portrayed perfectly by the video, "Fibonacci, Fractals and Financial Markets." This video is actually something that I also encountered in high school and it is very interesting to study the mathematical patterns that exist in so many aspects of the art that we see as part of our nature. The beauty of these geometrical patterns is also evident in the magnificent art created by Nathan Selikoff that utilizes the geometry and symmetry and multi-dimensionality provided by mathematics to create some truly eye-opening expositions.

Image: Nathan Selikoff - Multidimensional orchestra background

Another form of art that heavily relies on mathematics is origami. Origami creations are a tremendous method of artistic expression that utilize the precise nature of mathematics in the measurements of the paper and the angle of folding to create spectacular pieces.

Image: Origami by Robert J. Lang 

When thinking of art and mathematics, my mind immediately jumps to optical illusions, patterns in nature, sculptures, paintings, etc. I think about all of the tangible forms of art that I can see with my eyes and consider mathematical patterns.

It is easy to think of things one can see with their eyes, but it is even more interesting to think about the role of mathematics in forms of art such as music. Mathematics is key in the digital representation of sound. In a time where we have millions of different combinations and representations of sounds, we need math to provide a method for organizing and storing the different sounds and melodies created.

Image: Pictorial representation of recording and playback of sound.
Digital Representation of Sound, Part Two: Playing by the Numbers." Music and Computers

The combination between mathematics and art is essential in various different fields such as architecture and computational design. Creating magnificent and functional pieces required the work of an artist as well as the computation of mathematics to create something artistic and beautiful, but also functional. Workshops such as Generator.x are utilizing the importance of these two fields working in unison to facilitate cooperation between the two.

The application of mathematical concepts to art creates a deeper understanding of the world around us as well as makes for a form of art that is much more refined and helps an artist better portray their point of view.

1. "Fibonacci, Fractals and Financial Markets." YouTube., 31 May 2007. Web. 27 Jun 2016. <>.

2. Lang, Robert J. “Origami Mathematics.” Origami Mathematics. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jun 2016. < math/math.php>.

3. Burk, Phil, Larry Polansky, Douglas Repetto, Mary Roberts, and Dan Rockmore. "Chapter 2: The Digital Representation of Sound, Part Two: Playing by the Numbers." Music and Computers. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 June 2016.

4. "Software and Generative Strategies in Art and Design." Generator.x. Web. 27 Jun 2016. <>.

5. Nathan Selikoff. Web 27 Jun 2016. <>

Week 1: Two Cultures

My name it Ersi Dani and I am an Electrical Engineering major at UCLA. Deciding on my major was the hardest decision of my life. As a first year however, I began taking a few G.E. courses in the social sciences and I found that I spent just as much time in north campus as I did in south campus. 

I found that I was immensely torn between the two mediums as I enjoyed the classes, professors, and the unique individuals at both sides. Sadly, I did notice that there was a significant divide between the two sides that went beyond their geographical separation. Students in both campuses heavily criticized and deeply misunderstood those of the other campus. This divide is evident in “The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution,” when C.P. Snow explains that between the literary and the scientific intellectuals, there is “hostility and dislike, but most of all a lack of understanding,” as well as a “distorted image of each other.”

Separating art and the social sciences from the natural sciences is a grave mistake. As pointed out by Kevin Kelly, modern culture that once consisted of the arts, literature, and music is heavily influenced by science in the rise of the technological era. Both mediums work in tandem together to inspire creation and innovation and "both artist and scientist are involved in the work of intuiting change and in perception and materializing it for others to experience, see and ultimately change"(Vesna). 

Image: Unity of art and Technology 

Wit: A Play by Marget Edson builds a bridge that connects literature with medicine by analyzing terminal illness through the lens of John Donne’s poems. This play is taught in medical schools as a method for teaching students the importance of going beyond the scientific aspect of their occupation to address the ethical importance of interactions between doctors and patients. It is a perfect example of how two seemingly unrelated disciplines can work together to provide meaningful connections to improve the quality of care in hospitals nationwide. When taking into consideration these doctor-patient interactions, there is a huge gap in understanding as well in the language used. In A Dangerous Divide: The Two Cultures in the 21st Century, this inability to understand scientific language is the reason why so many people find it difficult to relate to science and oftentimes find it somewhat irrelevant.

Wit: A Play by Margaret Edson                                         

Image: Doctor-Patient Miscommunication Image Source:


1.  Snow, C. P. “Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution.” Reading. 1959. New York: Cambridge UP, 1961. Print.

2. Kelly, Kevin. "The Third Culture" Science 13 February 1998: Vol. 279 no. 5353 pp. 992-993. Web.

3. Vesna, Victoria. “Toward a Third Culture: Being in Between.” Leonardo 34.2 (2001): 121-25. Web.

4. Edson, Margaret. Wit: A Play. New York: Faber and Faber, 1999. Print.

5. "Academy EBriefings." A Dangerous Divide. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 June 2016.