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Oh Beautiful Math!

Publication Date: 8/10/2010

When the spring semester ended, art students had made the long, narrow wall in Ohlendorf Hall their painting canvas. Now when students return to campus this month, they can view the finished product--a dynamic 30-foot math and computer science mural.

Ohlendorf Hall houses the classrooms, computer science labs, library and the offices of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department.

Says Erin Harmon, Rhodes associate professor of art who with her advanced painting students produced the mural, “Creating a dynamic visual depiction of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department was a creative challenge that the students enjoyed. It was a valuable experience for advanced painting students to represent the needs of the department, work on such a large scale, and use professional mural painting materials and techniques.”

Calculations of proportions and appropriate use of materials were considered. The result--a representation of mathematicst hat is proportional yet playful. A large black and gray symmetrical design that seems to be spiraling against the blue streams of triangular shapes. Computer science is represented by bursts of red, yellow and gray pixels, and overall, Harmon and the students’ brush strokes have created a unity of concepts.

“It really is interesting doing a collaborative project with a class. You learn people’s strengths and what your inner strengths are,” says Whitney Ranson ’10 who worked on the project.

According to Dr. Michael Sheard, chair of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department, “It was an enjoyable and intriguing challenge to negotiate a vision for the mural between faculty with little background in art and artistic students with limited experiences with mathematics and computer science.  In the end we were most pleased with the result.”


Tags: Arts/Performances, Campus Life, Faculty, Students

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