Dance and Math Major Calculate Her Moves
As Lauren Vogelstein, FCLC ’13, guides visitors through New York City’s Museum of Mathematics (MoMath), she does so with great poise and grace. That’s because the young mathematician is a dancer.
“Some people think it’s strange that I love dance and I love math but I see a million and one overlaps in how they work,” says the Wilmette, Ill., native. “The problem-solving, the creativity, and the pattern-seeking in mathematics definitely come out in the arts.”
Vogelstein, who completed a B.S. in mathematics and a B.F.A. in dance at Fordham, was recently hired as a full-time employee at MoMath, one of the first museums in the United States to be devoted entirely to math.
She says she enjoys making math tangible.
“Math is often viewed as some scary monster under the bed. But people in the field know that’s not true, and communicating that is very important.” While at Fordham, Vogelstein choreographed several pieces incorporating mathematical principles. At MoMath she developed a movement-based lesson plan that encourages young students to physicalize the math. The lesson is based on the choreography of William Forsythe, who took nine points in a square, on three different levels of a cube, and then had dancers move throughout those points. “It was wonderful to see these young math students take a mathematical concept that they knew, and then see them think through it and feel through it,” she says.
It was just the kind of thinking she says she was encouraged to pursue at Fordham.
“A wider view is what’s important,” Vogelstein says. “What you learn in a philosophy class can help you in a calculus class. Nothing in this world exists in a vacuum.”