Course Title: Mathematics and Physics for Artists

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Mathematics and Physics for Artists

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


345H Media and Communication


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008

Course Coordinator: Adam Nash

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 99252598

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

This course is core for BP213 Bachelor of Arts(Digital Art) and BP214 Bachelor of Arts(Games Graphics Design). There are no prerequisites.

Course Description

The course is an introductory one designed to introduce you to the interface between science and art. It aims to go beyond the simple surveying of the history of art, looking for instances of the utilization of geometry or mathematical patterns, towards the underlying commonalities that allowed science and art to develop sometimes in tandem and sometimes quite distinctly.

The course will examine the ideas of reasoning and scientific method and their relationship to contemporary culture. This will be done through simple introductions to number systems, logic and the foundations of modern computing. Historical ideas of geometry will be developed as models for understanding the structure of the world---from Euclid to the curved space-time geometries of Einstein, and more contemporary ideas of chaos theory. The search for pattern may be examined from a creative design perspective as well as through more mathematical concepts such as tiling, pattern recognition and tessellation.

The aim is to foster simple ideas of logic and deductive reasoning. The enhanced understanding of deductive reasoning will provide you as an arts student with a stronger base for understanding computer programming, and allied areas of software utilization in games engines.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

  • Develop a preliminary understanding of our number systems, including binary arithmetic, and insight into mathematical systems based on axioms and logical deductions from those axioms. Eg probability, geometry.
  • Explore the relationship between design and concepts of tiling, pattern, pixellation and pattern recognition.
  • Interrogate the history of geometry and its relevance and use in pictorial construction.
  • Analyse contemporary views of non-linear geometry and the impact of chaos theory both visually and culturally.

Overview of Learning Activities

The course will be offered using lectures and tutorials. The main assessment work produced during the semester is a project researched individually.

  • You will develop and refine written skills and apply these in practice to project and examination work.
  • In lecture mode, you will be introduced to areas of science, physics and mathematics that you may not have been familiar with---learning occurs when you follow up on supplied references, engage with further references, to furnish your project work.
  • In tutorial mode, you will be required to communicate effectively with others, to offer critiques of particular positions in art, design, mathematics, physics and science.
  • You will negotiate project outcomes with the lecturer.
  • Project work immerses you in cross-disciplinary study.

Overview of Learning Resources

A list of recommended reading will be provided by the lecturer. You are encouraged to make use of a range of online and library resources as recommended by the lecturer.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment will take the form of one progressive project (70%) and one test (30%) at the end of the semester. The project will be designed to assess an investigation at the art/science interface in response to an agreed brief. The test will be designed to evaluate your understanding of the underlying tehoreticl considerations addressed in this course.