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31 October 2012

Lecturer introduces finite math course with emphasis on art

Math isn’t necessarily every student’s expertise. But regardless, it’s something people need for everyday life – even if you aren’t majoring in math.

University of Miami lecturer Lun Yi Tsai is offering the perfect math course next semester for students who need to get the requirement out of the way, but aren’t into derivatives and log functions.

The course, “Finite Mathematics with a Special Emphasis on Math and Art,” touches upon subjects that all students can appreciate. The three-credit course incorporates ideas that relate to forms of art such as drawing, painting, architecture, design and entrepreneurship.

“It’s the type of math that stretches your mind,” Tsai said. “It helps you understand how the world is built and connected.”

The class covers several topics, including Euclidean geometry, linear perspective and symmetry.

“The course is a quick launch for non-math people into a few areas of advanced mathematics that are usually reserved only for math majors,” Tsai said. “These exciting vistas give students – who may never take another math class in their lives – a glimpse of the sort of math that many mathematicians today find fascinating.”

Tsai has introduced some of these topics in his previous classes, and students have demonstrated interest in exploring math from this different perspective.

“I would definitely take up the opportunity to enroll in a math class that goes beyond solving equations and makes you think,” said junior Joana Palma, a philosophy major.

Tsai hopes students will appreciate math more after taking his course.

“I think it’s math that’s more connected to the real world,” he said. “It makes students appreciate that there’s math all around us – visually what makes something beautiful. It tells you the shape of the universe and how products that we see every day are created. It’s playful.”

Students interested in studying math from a creative angle should look out for MTH113 with Tsai during registration for the spring semester.