MathEd Forum

June  5, 2020


Theme: Mathematics and Aesthetics

November 24, 2012 at 10 am- 2 pm
Fields Institute, 222 College Street, Toronto


10:00 - 10:10 a.m.
Reports: OAME, OMCA, OCMA, CMESG, CMS, and other.

10:10 - 11:00 a.m.
Eva Knoll (Mount Saint Vincent University): Arts-based Research in (School) Mathematics

Abstract: Arts-based research, or art practice as research is a form of research that has been increasing in prominence in recent times. It is most often associated with social science research. However, it could be argued that mathematics, as a “science” (in French Canada, mathematics is “one of the natural sciences” along with physics, chemistry, etc.), does have a social component, if only in that it is practiced within a community. It therefore seems reasonable that arts-based research in mathematics is possible. What could this look like? What could these two practices, which many consider to be on opposite ends of the spectrum of human endeavour and human understanding, do when made to cohabitate? Dr. Knoll will present examples from her own past and future practice, to propose answers to these questions.

Biography: Eva Knoll studied and began her working life in architecture, which she expected to encapsulate both of her interest: mathematics and art. Her further peregrinations led her to mathematics education, which she now teaches in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and research in mathematics and art. Her work is published and presented in mathematics-and-art publications and conferences, exhibited in galleries, and informs her teaching practice.

11:00 - 11:30 a.m.
Bill Ralph (Brock University): Seeing is Conceiving.

Abstract: A tour of visual media in education, art and research.

Biography: Bill Ralph grew up in North Bay, Ontario, Canada where it is very cold, and has always been interested in mathematics, music and art. He spent three years in Toronto studying piano and composition before switching to mathematics at the University of Waterloo where he obtained a Ph.D. in Algebraic Topology. Several years ago, he was commissioned to design a piece of multimedia software to teach calculus and moved to San Francisco to create the CD that is now called "Journey Through Calculus". This software received the Ontario OPAS award for the development of educational technology at universities and has been shown at universities across the world. While he was studying the behaviour of certain chaotic dynamical systems, Professor Ralph became interested in exploiting their complexity to create visual art. His research uses mathematics to both analyze and create art has led has led to several invitations to speak about his work throughout North America. He is currently on the mathematics faculty of Brock University in St. Catharines Ontario where he enjoys teaching courses like mathematical modeling and the history of mathematics to excellent students.

11:30 - 12:00 a.m.
George Gadanidis (Western University): Mathematics through an Arts lens

Abstract: I work in elementary school classrooms on a regular basis, collaborating with teachers to use the Arts to develop better ways of engaging children and their parents with mathematics. I will share some examples and outline the direction of our work. Parent feedback: "It's amazing that they're learning this math in grade 3. I thought she couldn't do it but she really did. I hope you give more homework like this." Student feedback after parent shared a math activity: "I don't like math anymore, Daddy. I love it now!"

12:00-1:00 p.m.
(Light refreshments provided)


1:00 - 1:50 p.m.
Yves Jeanson and Raymond Guy (Collège Boréal): Geometric Abstraction as Art and Language- The Work of Zanis Waldheims.

Abstract: Latvian born Zanis Waldheims (1909-1993) immigrated to Canada in the early 1950's. He developed a structured aesthetic approach to represent concepts that describe the human being in its integrality. He produced a body of over 600 works of geometric art. The participants will be initiated to basic symbology and apply the framework to pedagogical principles. Original artifacts and reproductions will be available for viewing and stimulate discussion.

Biography: Passionate about all things abstract, Yves Jeanson has been studying the artistic and philosophic work of Zanis Waldheims, his mentor since 1974. He graduated from college with a merchant marine technical engineering degree in 1973, and is currently working as a contract administrator for Hydro-Quebec. He has to his curriculum presented Zanis Waldheims' art and ideas at three international conferences: in the field of empirical studies of the arts in Chicago and Dresden Germany; and geometry and graphics at McGill University last summer. He lives in Montreal with his wife and daughter and plans to retire next year to give all his attention to his passion.

Raymond Guy teaches mathematics and geographic information systems at Collège Boréal in Sudbury. He has over 23 years' experience as teacher and instructional designer for on-line and distance course development and delivery. He stumbled upon the fascinating world drawn by Zanis Waldheims one year ago. He and his wife have since been investigating the artist's geometric abstraction language and aesthetics with the help of Yves Jeanson who has provided guidance and privileged access to original documentation.

1:50-2:00 p.m.
General Discussion

2:00 p.m.

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