Connections: Beauty in Nature and Art (11-12)

Come and explore the interconnected worlds of math, nature, and music. This course will introduce students to the philosophy of aesthetics, the concept of the Golden Ratio, and the nature of art that is pleasing to the human eye or ear. After reading and thinking through theories of beauty and applying these to pieces of music, visual art, film, and literature, we will travel to Utah for a cross-country skiing trip. Immersed in the natural world–a source of inspiration and guidance for artists– we will analyze recorded music, the landscape, and other forms of art. We will read texts by nature writers as well as philosophers of aesthetics, in order to think through our own reactions to the landscape, the physical demands of cross-country skiing, and the music we encounter on pre-selected playlists. The goals of this course are to get students thinking about the relationship between nature and beauty and to help them develop a vocabulary for expressing their own theories on beauty in the world.

This class will interest artists, mathematicians, musicians, and others who want to explore the relationships between abstract mathematics, philosophy, and art.

Dates of Travel: Friday, December 9 to Tuesday, December 13

Ivan Johnson