For many of us, math wasn’t exactly our strongest subject back in school; just as you’re beginning to grasp the concept of numbers, along come letters, symbols, and shapes to boggle your mind further. Suffice to say, we were lucky enough to pass the subject; but for the current and future generations, understanding 3D concepts may not be so difficult.
Henry Segerman is putting a new spin on the subject with his emphasis on mathematical art. Instead of teaching math the old-fashioned way (i.e. boring old pen and paper), Segerman makes use of 3D printing, websites, and YouTube videos to illustrate how mathematical concepts like geometry and symmetry work.
Take for example his book, Visualizing Mathematics with 3D Printing. While it comes in a hardcover version, almost all the cool features can be found in the book’s online companion which lets users interact with the 3D objects and even print their own or purchase a readymade version. Once the topic in question is in the palm of your hand, understanding the concept becomes a heck of a lot easier.
A lot of his videos on YouTube also help teach concepts which are otherwise impossible to explain through text. I’m not going to even try to describe his videos on branched scissor mechanisms or five-three-two triangles because nothing I say here would do them justice. The unspoken understanding in seeing and touching an object seems to be more than enough to get the point across.
From topology to D30 dice, Henry’s unique “see-and-touch-for-yourself” approach may just be what kids and adults need to get that “leveled-up” interest in mathematics. You can find Henry Segerman’s videos on his YouTube channel, his mathematical creations on Thingiverse, and the rest of his mathematical genius on his webpage.