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Exotic Geometries Become Beautiful Math to T.C. MITS

Software visualizations are transcending what has been known as modern geometry. In special laboratories, researchers are using graphics technolology to explore the exotic images found in hyperbolic, projective and even "tropical" geometry.

Some say it all began with the videos produced at the Geometry Center in the 1990's. Others refer to the construction of physical models that now gather dust in glass cases. And others claim that the real impetus was the "colorful yarn knotted into beautiful, curly shapes" known as hyperbolic crochet.

Whatever the origin, the new geometry laboratories are extending their research efforts to include outreach to students (secondary and college), trying to interest them to choose math as a career path. One geometer, Sean Lawton, at the University of Texas–Pan-American, adds: "We're really targeting the poets and the dancers and the business majors, people outside of the traditional folds of mathematical interest...Mathematics is both a science and an art, and we want to show people that it can be appreciated from an aesthetic point of view, in much the way someone could appreciate a poem or a painting."

The current labs to keep track of...both their programs and their shared projects:

Bill Goldman, a U.M. mathematician and Director of their Experimental Geometry Lab, is optimistic: "I'm really curious what's going to be happening in the future." The computer technology will become more powerful, and the exotic mathematics better understood...and perhaps a few more students lured into becoming mathematicians.

Source: E. Lamb's "Deep Spaces: Geometry Labs Bring Beautiful Math to the Masses," Scientific American, 7/15/12