One of the goals of mathematician Martin Flashman is to use visual techniques to explain mathematical concepts to people who have little or no mathematical training. To that end, he will present a lecture entitled “Flatland and Understanding Dimension: Visualizing the Fourth Dimension” at the Arizona Senior Academy on Thursday (Nov. 8), starting at 3:30 p.m.
In the late 19th century, there was much interest in spirit worlds that might exist in another dimension. At that time, Edwin Abbott wrote a short piece of fiction, “Flatland,” in which inhabitants of a 2-dimensional flat land try to understand a world with three dimensions. In his presentation, Prof. Flashman will explain some of the visual approaches to understanding dimensions, especially the fourth dimension. Audience members will have an opportunity to create and work with some four-dimensional objects.
Flashman received mathematics degrees from Brandeis University and a law degree from New York University School of Law. He taught six years at Bard College before going to California’s Humboldt State University in 1981 from which he is now retired as Professor Emeritus of Mathematics.
For the scholastic year 2018-9, he is again visiting the University of Arizona while he works on several projects related to visualization in making sense of mathematics. Last winter he gave two lectures here at the Arizona Senior Academy, one on the mathematics of M.C. Escher’s drawings and another on visualizing infinity.
Written by Marcia Neugebauer, Academy Village Volunteer