Friday, June 25, 2010
Lucid as Euclid?
Ahoy all my Science & Math-minded friends!
Can you think of any available work--a book, a chapter, an essay, a website, a YouTube clip--that could introduce some more-or-less mathematically illiterate English majors to non-Euclidean geometry?
I don't care so much about their learning the geometry itself, or the various geometries. It's the intellectual adventure of the discovery that I need to communicate: the interest and excitement of it, and the worlds it opened up.
This will be a secondary source for my next interdisciplinary senior seminar on popular romance fiction, by the way. One of the novels I teach, Laura Kinsale's Flowers from the Storm, features a mathematically-gifted 19th century hero who works on the problem. It's been hard for me to get students to focus on that aspect of the novel, or see its relevance to the other material in the book; I need something that will bring the topic to life for them.
By way of early payment, here's a musical tribute to the man behind the story in real life (well, one of them, anyway) from Tom Lehrer: