Written by Will Lewis
They may not be MC5, but the Math department is looking to “kick out the jams” in their own way this week.
Dr. Shaun Ault, VSU math professor, is headlining this week’s Science Seminar, with his presentation titled, “Cycles in Music and the Mathematics of Rhythm” and dubbed “The Musings of a Mathematician.”
The seminar will take place at 4 p.m. on Thursday in the Powell Hall Auditorium and will showcase a variety of genres.
“Within the past three or four years I have really developed an appreciation for house and dubstep,” Dr. Ault said regarding the presentation.
The presentation is being pushed forward as a joint effort between Dr. Ault’s personal passion for music, and the math department’s desire to get student more involved and interested in the subject.
“As our department’s faculty shares their expertise at the Science Seminar, we hope to see students of all majors and interests see the importance, beauty, and enjoyment of mathematics,” Dr. Greg Harrell, VSU professor and head of the math department, said.
Dr. Ault took the challenge to heart.
“Can we get kids interested in mathematics?” he said “How can we do that? Well, music is an obvious gateway.”
Dr. Ault has a history in music that goes back to him achieving a Bachelors of music from the Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio. Later, when he graduated with a Bachelors in mathematics, and later a PhD, he found that his passion and his field might not be so far apart.
“I find that math has a lot of structure, you can define it as the science of patterns and as I look at more and more music over time, I see those structures recurring.” Dr. Ault said. “I just found that fascinating, that there is that structure in music. So, you can actually bring mathematics to bear, and analyze that in a meaningful way.”
Members of the student body aren’t the only viewers who are expected to benefit. The seminar will give the math department the opportunity to showcase its research to other departments.
“Through the Science Seminar, faculty members from outside of mathematics can enjoy Dr. Ault’s presentation and perhaps see potential areas of research in which they can partner with Dr. Ault,” Dr. Harrell said.
Dr. Ault also suggested to the possibility that some of the faculty in the audience may have a few new introductions to their musical repertoire.
“I think they are going to hear things they have never heard before,” he said.