The Maths of Beauty and Symmetry

Professor Sarah Hart


Sarah B. Hart is a British mathematician specialising in group theory. She is a professor of mathematics at Birkbeck, University of London and the Head of Mathematics and Statistics at Birkbeck.

In 2020, she was appointed to what may be the oldest chair in mathematics in Britain, the Gresham Professor of Geometry in Gresham College. She is the first woman to hold this position “since the chair was established in 1597”.

Professor Hart is a keen expositor of mathematics: she has written about the mathematics of Moby-Dick, and her work has been featured in websites like ‘Theorem of the Day’

People have always found symmetry aesthetically pleasing and examples of it are seen in the earliest art. The Platonic solids have been known to humanity for millennia, some possibly even to Neolithic man, as can be seen in the carved stone balls found by archaeologists.

This lecture looked at how we can understand symmetry using mathematics, and explored how the rules of symmetry can deepen our appreciation of beautiful works of art and design.

This lecture is part of the series: Geometry: The Mathematics of Art

Professor Hart’s lecture series is as follows:

2021/22 Geometry: The Mathematics of Art

2020/21 Mathematics in Music and Writing

All lectures by the Gresham Professors of Geometry can be found here.

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