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# TOK speech - Does experience with mathematics influence perception of beauty?

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Introduction

Show video: (1:45 - 4:10) http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_pawlyn_using_nature_s_genius_in_architecture.html V: So, using mathematics to describe and better understand our perception of beauty in nature is not only an interesting endeavour, but one that can help us create beautiful and sustainable designs based on nature. Imagine a solar panel having the same design as the arrangement of leaves in a Fibonacci sequence. Not only would that be visually awesome, it could provide an answer to using solar panels as a main source of energy. Mathematics and nature is all around us, so putting them together in design would make something incredible. A: Although we have discussed at length about mathematics, and how it is beautiful, our high school education does not teach actual mathematics. Our learning consists of arithmetic and computational math. So what right do we have to talk about mathematics and its beauty? Does experience with mathematics influence perception of beauty? Show picture of nature and picture of mathematical formula Ask class which is beautiful, and which is easier to perceive as beautiful. V: There is much beauty in nature, and we can all recognize it without any mathematical training. Mathematical beauty, however, may only be appreciated if one is familiar with its language and if one has enough experience and knowledge to identify it. ...read more.

Middle

I think of the two statements, the former is more beautiful because it is visually more appealing, and represents the concept more accessibly. A: Now we have to think, is beauty represented by truth in mathematics? Does mathematics have truth when it corresponds to phenomena that we perceive in nature? Or does mathematics have truth when it coheres to a designed structure of definitions and axioms? A: With natural sciences, we use perception to see, hear, or touch something in the physical world, and use those observations to provide evidence and get closer to the truth. Mathematics, in contrast, does not need physical perception to provide evidence for truth. Natural sciences rely on observation and we always have a degree of uncertainty in these observations. Mathematical modelling, however, in itself is undeniable in its certainty. The main issue is how accurate the application of an internally perfect model is in the natural world. If it correctly describes a pattern inherent in nature, we can assume the theory to be true. A: As well, to the average Joe, mathematics has some sort of undeniable truth because it is thought to use numbers and complicated formulas. We readily believe in phi because it has to do with math, which we relate to numbers and their cold clear-cut quality of truth. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, by examining mathematics through the mathematician's eyes, we can see that there are ways in which a formula can appear beautiful. A: Take a look at the Fibonacci sequence in the same way you would view a flower or a pine cone. Most of the barrier that prevents the two subject areas from being compared is the lack of understanding of math. Mathematics is far more than just numbers and symbols. Rather it is a universal language that is cross-cultural. Mathematics is able to describe its own world in black and white without any uncertainly. This is a quality that even the real world cannot achieve. Therefore, if mathematics is not more beautiful than nature, it is at least at an equal level. V: As well, we can analyze beauty in nature with mathematics, finding patterns and drawing correlations between beautiful physical structures and mathematics. If we describe a natural form in mathematical language, through this transcription, we can also apply the concept behind its beauty to design. Inspired by the Fibonacci sequence and phi ratio found in nature, people can design aesthetically-pleasing objects, compose music based on fractals and phi, and create stunning architecture that is both efficient and sustainable. Mathematics, which can demonstrate beauty in itself, also aids in our understanding of beauty in nature and in design. A: And that concludes our presentation. Thank you! ?? ?? ?? ?? 3 ...read more.

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