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IMB Seminar: Moira Dillon

Friday, January 19, 2018 - 12:00pm

SAIL Room - 111 Levin Building

Moira Dillon
Department of Psychology

Propositioning Euclid in The Quad: From shapes in the world to shapes in the mind

Formal geometry lies at the foundation of millennia of human achievements in domains such as mathematics, art, and architecture. For as long as formal geometry has shaped society, great thinkers have sought its origins in our unique human mind, our experience of the external world, or our human culture. While formal geometry’s propositions rely on abstract entities like dimensionless points and infinitely long lines, the points and lines of our external world all have dimension and are finite. How, then, do humans arrive at idealized representations that can never be represented as such in the external world? In this talk, I will address this perennial question by linking uniquely human geometric intuitions to the basic spatial sensitivities shared by humans and animals alike for exploring the external world. I will broaden the scope of this investigation to ask how geometric formalisms might have been ignited in the first geometers like Euclid and how they might be reignited in the minds of our children, those future geometers — mathematicians, artists, and architects — we send to school every day.

The talk will begin at 12:00pm. A pizza lunch will be served at 11:45am.