College of Fine Arts and Communication

Research and Creative Activities

COFAC Colloquium 15 — Friday, September 30, 2011 — Van Bokkelen 204

Bridging Theatre and Mathematics: a playwright's perspective

Dr. David White, Assistant Professor, Department of Theatre Arts


The goal of this paper is to offer a playwright’s perspective on how mathematical objects could be included in the design of a play. This is an attempt to communicate the meaning of the term “structure of the play” for the playwright by providing an example. The goal is to elicit ideas from others about mathematical objects, proof ideas, etc. that can be used as inspirational structures in playwriting. 


Bridging Theater and Mathematics: a Mathematician’s View

Dr. Alexei Kolesnikov, Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics


The goal of the presentation is to explore the possibility of connecting mathematics and theatre by using mathematical objects or proofs to structure the plays, or by using theatre methods to illustrate mathematical notions, or both. I will describe my collaboration on this topic with Dr. David White of Theatre Department and offer thoughts on further steps.


System of Visual Organization in Graphic Design

Nahid Tootoonchi, Assistant Professor, Department of Art + Design, Art History, Art Education


Grid is a mathematical device. Without it no long format of any publication or manuscript can be followed. The beauty, harmony, and flow of any publication depends on the systematic structure of its grid system


The Magical Power of Our Eye

A Student Centered Approach to Building Bridges

Between Mathematics and Art

Chris Bartlett, Professor, Department of Art + Design, Art History, Art Education

Gail Kaplan, Professor, Department of Mathematics


This workshop provides a series of student centered activities designed to enable students to explore the relationship between mathematics and art, in particular, the connection between the golden ratio and paintings.  These links stimulate student interest in both disciplines as well as improve critical thinking skills.



Sculptures Inspired by the Native Americans Culture

Jim R. Paulsen, Professor, Department of Art + Design, Art History, Art Education

Reza Sarhangi, Professor, Department of Mathematics


This article explores the mathematics and science behind a series of sculptures by Professor Jim Paulsen. The goal is to show how the social and cultural elements surrounding an abstract sculptor, in this case Paulsen, shape the resultant artworks. Abstraction in creating sculpture, very similar to music, may separate the final created art from its very first idea of creation in a way that the two ends of the spectrum seem to be two unrelated matters, especially if the works are partly based on emotions or events only known to the artist. Nevertheless, some gestures by the artist may reveal the hidden idea in the piece, which in brings the joy of discovery to the observer.

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