Exhibition at XJTLU demonstrates the beauty of mathematics

January 01, 2024

Visitors to the recent 2023 IMAGINARY Exhibition at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University had the opportunity to see how mathematical expressions can generate beautiful visual displays.

The travelling exhibition, developed by the Mathematisches Forschungsinstitut Oberwolfach (MFO) in Germany, includes posters, interactive installations, virtual worlds, 3D objects, and software to help audiences better understand and appreciate mathematics.

Dr Gang Liu from XJTLU’s School of Mathematics and Physics with students from Jinji Lake School

Dr Gang Liu, Deputy Dean of the University’s School of Mathematics and Physics, explained to visitors how to use the exhibit’s software to explore mathematics.

For example, the SURFER software programme allows a user to enter or alter certain types of algebraic expressions on a touch screen to generate corresponding images in real time. The user can then rotate and add colour to the images to create art.

Furthermore, Math to Touch software enables the user to explore topics such as maths and music, relationships of mathematics and physics, and fractals.

Dr Liu said he hopes students can use these two programmes to unleash their creativity.

The exhibition, organised in Suzhou by XJTLU’s School of Mathematics and Physics, featured over 50 works based on algebraic geometry, singularity theory, and differential geometry.

Dr Gang Liu explains use of interactive software for visualising mathematics

The exhibition was also displayed at the Suzhou Industrial Park Wenjing Experimental School.

Students of Suzhou Industrial Park Wenjing Experimental School take notes

Students of Suzhou Industrial Park Wenjing Experimental School view the exhibition

While music offers auditory beauty and painting visual beauty, mathematics embodies the "beauty of thinking", said Dr Qiang Niu at XJTLU’s Department of Applied Mathematics.

The Forum on Innovation in Mathematics Education held with the exhibition gathered top experts and scholars in China who discussed topics like enhancing core mathematics literacy, sharing mathematics teaching experience, and cultivating mathematical innovation ability in middle schools and universities. The forum’s broad goal was to find ways to help the public – teenagers in particular – better understand mathematics and experience the joy of studying mathematics.

By Qinru Liu
Edited by Tamara Kaup
Photos courtesy of Xiaoke Li and Suzhou Industrial Park Wenjing Experimental School

January 01, 2024