Visual Mathematics


It is a sad fact that many people believe that mathematics is about
doing arithmetic and memorizing formulas. However, if these people
were to ask a mathematician what their profession is about they
might be surprised by the answer. “A mathematician, like a painter
or poet, is a maker of patterns. If his patterns are more permanent
than theirs, it is because they are made with ideas.” So said the
number theorist G. H. Hardy in his 1940 essay ‘A Mathematician’s
Apology’, and in this talk I will attempt to convey this alternative
point of view using a series of examples of visual mathematics. Each
example will take the form of an easy-to-explain statement about
numbers or geometric shapes, followed by a purely visual proof of
the statement. The success of the talk may be judged by the number
of ‘Eureka!’ moments it generates in the audience.

Joe Hurd

Affiliation Galois, Inc.

Joe works for Galois, Inc. in Portland, OR, where he uses functional
programming languages to construct correctness proofs of software.
He studied at the University of Cambridge, receiving degrees in
mathematics and then computer science as he made the realization
that it was easier for him to program computers to find proofs than
to do them by hand. In his free time Joe contributes to open source
projects, carries out independent research and regularly gives talks
to audiences at all levels.