Mark Peterson is a professor in both the physics and mathematics departments at Mount Holyoke. His work often explores the intersection of science and the humanities. He has written on the scientific speculations of Dante, programmed a pioneering computer program for introductory Chinese language courses, and, in 1997, published the cover article on the painter Piero della Francesca in The Mathematical Intelligencer. In the article, Peterson makes the case that Piero, who is well known as one of the great painters of the Italian Renaissance, was also by far the greatest mathematician of the fifteenth century.
Much of Peterson's scientific research has been in modeling microhydrodynamics in biophysical settings. His interests in the integration of mathematics and the humanities in a liberal arts education and in promoting summer research experiences in mathematics for undergraduates have been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities.