Physics Program Presents
Friday, March 6, 2020
Embodied Constructionist Mathematics
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Nazmus Saquib ’11, MIT
Mathematics as a discipline has relied on symbolic abstractions and symbol manipulations for the last few centuries, shaped by static surfaces (such as paper) as the dominant medium of communication. Algebra as a tool to manipulate symbols has been widely used to deal with mathematical abstractions so far. In this work, I demonstrate how the embodied, constructionist, and explainable elements of basic mathematics curricula (such as counting, grouping, sets, shapes etc.) can be combined with symbolic algebra and programming concepts to create a novel and powerful drawing language that leverages embodied interactions to do mathematics.
Compared to symbolic abstractions, I will argue (via user studies with scientists and children) that this representation is more suitable for human perception and understanding of mathematics. I will describe three unique brushes (iconic element brush, list brush, function brush) and two key design ideas (fused representations and abstraction layers) that make up this embodied interaction framework.
Moving beyond paper and 2D screens, I will demonstrate how other embodied mediums of communication such as human gestures and body postures can be used to define programmable actions, and drive interactions for storytelling, presentations, and information visualization. All of such design principles can be utilized to redesign the "front-end" of mathematics and programming, taking into account embodied cognition and how humans learn and think. The implications of these frameworks in the context of Artificial Intelligence, mixed reality devices, and next generation computing will be discussed.
If time permits, I will also discuss how my liberal arts training at Bard prepared me to work in the uncomfortable zones of interdisciplinary research, combining a few seemingly disparate fields.
Nazmus Saquib designs interactive technology and wearable sensors, and is always looking for ways to merge powerful ideas from different fields. Significant projects include the invention of drawing-based mathematics, gesture-based storytelling in augmented reality, shoe-based sensor network helping social learning for children, and simulation software for particle accelerators. His works have been featured on NHK World TV and Edsurge and in the Boston Globe, and funded by the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative and Omidyar Network, among others, for startup ventures. Saquib studied physics and liberal arts at Bard College, scientific computing and applied math (MS) at the University of Utah, and media arts and sciences (MS) at the MIT Media Lab, and is currently a PhD candidate at MIT.
For more information, call 845-752-4391, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Time: 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Location: Hegeman 107