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First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program
Course Description

Mathematics and the Art of M. C. Escher

Instructor(s): Mark Hofmann, Mathematics and Computer Science

How did Escher bend the rules of perspective to create a castle where its inhabitants are walking ever upward or downward on a staircase, without getting any higher or lower? What would it be like to live in a non-Euclidean world where the sum of the angles of a triangle are less than 180 degrees, or where we could create an octagonal room with eight right angles? Or do we? As well as examining these questions, students in this seminar explore the relationship between Escher's art and the underlying mathematical themes and consider the artist's success at achieving a visual representation of mathematical ideas.

Course Offered