April: Math through Pictures


Dusty Grundmeier, of the Harvard Math Department, hosted the session on what we can learn from pictures. Although many students think of math as a series of equations, and very text-based, Dusty led us through an exploration of what we can “see” mathematically in some favorite picture-proofs, for the Pythagorean theorem, Integration by parts, Fibonacci identities, and more. Prior to the session, Dusty whet our appetites with this problem:

What (if anything!) does the following picture help you figure out about sums of cubes?
(i.e. 1 + 8 + 27 + 64 + …)