Professors combine math with art


Students have no need to fear over the dreaded math class required for the general education curriculum.
Anthony Ferzola, Ph.D., of the math department, and Josephine Dunn, Ph.D., of the art history department, offer an interdisciplinary course called “Math and the Visual Arts.” The course teaches students mathematical concepts and how they are applied to famous works of art.
Ferzola and Dunn teach the course together every other spring semester. During the class, Ferzola will explain a concept in math and Dunn will explain works of art matching that concept. Assignments are usually solving problems and working on art projects.
Dunn said that she enjoys the class because she is happy to see how excited the students became once they understand the connection. She also believes that she learns a lot just by teaching the class.
“As an artist, it is a new way for me to learn math,” Dunn said. “We learn from each other and have a great time doing it.”
Ferzola said that he approached Dunn with the idea to teach a class together after he took a seminar that she was instructing. He said that her knowledge and teaching ability impressed him. He said he enjoys teaching the class because he learns from teaching it.
“If you look at great quotes from great mathematicians, they say that math is looking for patterns,” Ferzola said. “We have many adult students say that if they knew all this they would have stuck with math.”
Dunn and Ferzola are teaching the class in a travel seminar in Rome in summer 2014.
“Instead of talking about the Pantheon’s great dome, we can stand under it,” Ferzola said.
There will be a meeting for the trip at 3:30 p.m. Friday in Loyola Science Center 233. All students who are interested are encouraged to attend.

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