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Juniata Professor to Speak on Music, Mathematics

(Posted September 10, 2012)

John Bukowski, professor of mathematics

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The music of mathematics sounds like a contradiction in terms, but underneath the notes the foundations of music are numerical, from a four-count rhythm to the 12 major scales. John Bukowski, professor of mathematics at Juniata College, will lecture on "The Music and Mathematics of Christiaan Huygens: A Study of Seventeenth-Century Documents," at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 19, in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

Bukowski, who has done extensive research on the works of Dutch mathematician, Christiaan Huygens, will present some of Huygens' work on music theory and will work through a particular mathematical problem that Bukowski found in Huygens' notebooks and manuscripts. In addition, Bukowski, who recently returned from a research trip to the University of Leiden, in the Netherlands, will also share academic and personal observations about his sabbatical semester.

Bukowski previously spoke on Huygens' works in a Bookend Lecture in 2006.

Christiaan Huygens is best known for discovering Saturn's moon, Titan, and also discovered the true shape of the rings of Saturn. He also helped develop modern calculus and wrote the first book on probability theory.

Bukowski joined the Juniata faculty in 1997 after earning his master's degree and doctoral degree in applied mathematics from Brown University in Providence, R.I. He earned a bachelor's degree in both mathematics and physics from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa.

In 1998-99, he was a fellow of Project NExT, a national program sponsored by the Mathematical Association of America for new faculty interested in improving the teaching and learning of undergraduate mathematics. He was promoted to associate professor in 2003 and serves as chair of the mathematics department. He was promoted to full professor in 2009.

His research interests focus on the history of mathematics in the 17th and 18th centuries. He has published several articles on Huygens. He is a member of the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America, and the Association for Women in Mathematics.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.