UMBC logo

« The Mathematics of Fiction | Main

May 13, 2009 |Permalink


I've been having a great time being the mathematics consultant to the Folger theater for their production of Tom Stoppard's play Arcadia. I figured I'm probably never going to get closer to a theater production, so I even managed to wrangle a credit in the program for the play. Anyway, the play is quite amazing because of all the mathematics that Stoppard puts in it (along with about a dozen other topics - everything from Romanticism to Garden Design). But I've been concentrating only on the mathematics - the iterated algorithms, the fractals, the chaos, the population dynamics. If you want to learn more about these topics (especially in connection with the play), I invite you to watch the above video. Also, go to the Folger website, where I've put up a bunch of other links to help understand the math.

Several scheduled events related to this: On Friday, May 15, the Folger is sponsoring "Fractal Friday" - a pre-theater talk where I will explain some of the mathematics highlights behind the play. On Monday, May 18, the American Math Society and the Math Assoc of America are jointly sponsoring an event on theater and math, where I will talk to cast members and the dramaturg about the challenge of representing mathematics (and mathematicians!) on stage. On Thursday, May 28, I will be moderating a talk-back at the Folger, with cast members and the director. And finally, on Saturday, Jun 13, members of the Folger will get to ask me about the math in the play to their hearts' content (as usual, other questions, such as the meaning of life, will also be entertained).