Mathematics outside the academy

A big concern of many mathematicians and techy people I talk to is mathematics “outside the academy.” That is, mathematicians know that math is beautiful and get to do it as part of their jobs, but math appreciation is often not that accessible to people outside the academic-industrial complex! We can all go to concerts and art museums, for free or for a price, if we’re able to transport ourselves to the right location at the right time. But math… if you like math, do you know where to go to see some beautiful math?

Many mathematicians would argue that you can figure out some beautiful math with nothing more than a stick and some sand, like Archimedes in the legend. But that does require some prior knowledge, and it seems unfair that we don’t say, “If you really enjoyed art you’d just make some! If you really appreciated organ music you’d just play it!”

Given all that, the site Mathigon is a very enjoyable place to appreciate some mathematics. It’s beautifully designed and available to everyone who has the internet. I love the design and the thoughtfulness that went into the visual presentation. And if you want to learn something about Archimedean solids… Mathigon has got you covered!

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