MHC to host math artist

Henry Segerman will speak about his book “Visualizing Mathematics with 3D Printing” and demonstrate how technology can make abstract ideas tangible.

By Xiomara Núñez '20

What shape do the solutions of an equation create in space? Can 3-D models help to understand abstract mathematical concepts?

New technology allows mathematicians like Henry Segerman to create 3-D printed models that can be used as instructional aids — and appreciated for their aesthetic appeal.

Segerman’s recent book, “Visualizing Mathematics with 3D Printing,” which Chalkdust Magazine has called “refreshingly original and different,” explores two-, three-, and four-dimensional mathematics, Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometries, symmetry, knots and more.

Segerman, an assistant professor of mathematics at Oklahoma State University, will speak about the book and his work on Friday, Oct. 13, at 4:15 p.m. at Mount Holyoke College. The book includes more than 100 color photographs of 3-D printed models that can be ordered online or downloaded to a 3-D printer. The talk will be held in Gamble Auditorium.

The Mount Holyoke College Art Museum and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics are creating a small display of objects, “Making Mathematics: 3D Models Then and Now,” curated by Carla Gonzalez-Vazquez ’19, to accompany the talk.

“Henry Segerman’s 3-D modeling technology makes abstract mathematical ideas tangible, and his willingness to share the files for his prints widely makes production accessible for anyone with a 3-D printer,” said Jessica Sidman, Professor of Mathematics on the John Stewart Kennedy Foundation. The math department is co-hosting the event with the Odyssey Bookshop.

“Segerman will make connections between the mathematics and the models in his talk and will give students an introduction to 3-D modeling software in a small workshop setting,” Sidman said. “We’re so excited to be bringing him to campus.”