search index home contacts help

~New Wellesley Lecture Series Celebrates the Marriage
Between Quantitative Skills and Art

For immediate release:
February 19, 2004

Arlie Corday,

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Are quantitative and mathematical skills really relevant for all students? Even, for example, for art majors? A new lecture series beginning at Wellesley College this spring will take a look at the myriad ways in which quantitative skills are applicable to all subjects, but especially art.

Wellesley's Quantitative Reasoning Program kicks off this new series, “Celebrating QR Connections,” thanks to a recent gift from alumna Ellen Genat Hoffman ’68 and her husband Stephen. In this inaugural year of the series, the lectures focus on the connection between quantitative reasoning and art. In future years, other connections will be examined, such as that between QR and biology or QR and literature.

The four lectures in this year’s “QR and Art” series focus on how various quantitative skills are used in understanding, dating, conserving and creating art. The first lecture, on Wednesday, March 10, at 4:30 pm in Pendleton West Hall, room 212, is by the Harvard Art Museum’s senior conservation scientist Narayan Khandekar on the many different quantitative techniques he uses, including chemical analyses, to understand and conserve works of art.

The March 16 talk explores an unusual way in which personal letters and astronomical, meteorological and topographical data were combined to provide evidence on the exact date and location of van Gogh’s Moonrise painting. Don Olson, professor of physics and astronomy, and Marilynn Olson, professor of English, both at Texas State University, will share their story of how art and science combine on this and other research projects. The Olsons’ presentation is at 4:30 in Pendleton West 212.

The last two lectures feature well-known artists working in very different media. MIT Professor John Meada will talk about his artistic journey and current place at the crossroads of art and technology. He will show many of his digital designs at his presentation on March 30 at 5 pm in Wellesley's Collins Cinema

The April 7 speaker is famed quilt-maker Jinny Beyer. Her talk at 12:30 pm in Collins Cinemas will feature her own quilt designs as well as tessellations (the formation of a mosaic pattern) by mathematical print artist M.C. Escher and others. The talk will include a hands-on design workshop.

“Not only have we lined up outstanding public speakers, but each of the images they will show us in these talks speaks far more than the proverbial thousand words," said Wellesley QR Director Corri Taylor. "These presentations will fill your senses and make you appreciate both the works of art and the value of QR skills in understanding and creating art.” For more information, contact the Office for Public Information at 781-283-2373.


Return to the Office for Public Information Homepage

Return to the Wellesley College Homepage

  • Office for Public Information
  • Date Modified: February 18, 2004
search index home contacts help