Fumiko Futamura

Notable Achievements

The Department of Mathematics and Computer Science was active at MathFest, a national meeting of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) in Denver, Colo., Aug. 1 4, 2018.

  • President and Professor of Mathematics Edward Burger gave the invited plenary talk, “Think. Create. Connect: To Make Meaning and Make a Difference” to Project NExT, New Experiences in Teaching, a professional-development program for new or recent Ph.D.s in the mathematical sciences.
  • Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura and Robert Lehr ’15 received the Carl B. Allendoerfer Award for expository excellence for their article “A New Perspective on Finding the Viewpoint,” published in the October 2017 issue of Mathematics Magazine.
  • Lehr won an award for his presentation “Perspective Drawing: How to Find the Immersion Point,” in the Pi Mu Epsilon (PME) student session.  He will begin his first year at the University of Texas School of Architecture this August. PME funded his attendance at the meeting.
  • Futamura copresented an expert class, the MAA Minicourse “Visualizing Projective Geometry Through Photographs and Perspective Drawings,” with Annalisa Crannell of Franklin & Marshall College.
  • Futamura was a panelist for the Project NExT panel discussion on “Building a Diverse and Inclusive Mathematics Major.” She discussed the EQUIP program and shared her experiences in cobuilding and coteaching in the program.
  • Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr presented “Hidden No More Lecture Series,” based on her minigrant from the National Science Foundation.
  • Marr coauthored “Re-Envisioning the Calculus Sequence,” based on her grant from the Associated Colleges of the South with Alex M. McAllister, of Centre College, and Joel Kilty, of Centre College.
  • Marr served as a moderator for the Town Hall “Shaping and Fostering an Equitable Community in Our Departments.” The results of this Town Hall discussion will be published in the Association for Women in Mathematics NewsletterMAA FOCUS, and Notices of the American Mathematical Society.
  • Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton and Emma Kathryn Groves ’17  copresented “Incorporating Biology Topics Into Mathematics Undergraduate Experiences.” Groves just completed her first year in the Mathematics graduate program at North Carolina State University. She began work on mathematical models of cholera during her HHMI-funded SCOPE in 2016 with Yinlin Dai ’16, supervised by Shelton. Shelton also shared some of her work funded under the W. M. Keck grant at Southwestern.
  • Shelton participated in a Data Science Workshop and joined a focus group of the MAA Committee on Faculty and Departments by invitation.
  • Shelton participated in events for SIMIODE, including a meeting of the coprincipal investigators of their grant from the National Science Foundation, which partly funded Shelton’s attendance.
  • Assistant Professor of Mathematics John Ross presented “Implementing Mastery-Based Quizzes and Tests in a Calculus Course.”
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Expertise

Projective geometry, art and mathematics, harmonic analysis, frame theory

Fumiko Futamura received her MS and PhD from Vanderbilt University in 2007 and her BA from the University of Louisville in 2002. In her free time, she is an artist working primarily in charcoal, pen and ink, oils and crochet, but she dabbles in everything from photography to ceramics. She shares her passion for mathematics and art with her students in classes like Geometry and Explorations in Mathematics, empowering and engaging them through hands-on activities and active learning. She also shares this love through public lectures and workshops at venues such as NerdNite, Japan America Society of Greater Austin, the Phi Beta Kappa honors society, Art.Science.Gallery and the Thinkery. She is the author of a TED-Ed video, The Mathematics of Sidewalk Illusions, and is writing a textbook with co-authors Annalisa Crannell and Marc Frantz titled Perspective and Projective Geometry. 

“Mathematics is the most elusive of all the arts. It took 8 years of serious study to even begin to understand the medium and begin to work with it in a creative way. Math is art. I wouldn’t be a mathematician otherwise.”
- Fumiko Futamura

  • Fumiko Futamura received her MS and PhD from Vanderbilt University in 2007 and her BA from the University of Louisville in 2002. In her free time, she is an artist working primarily in charcoal, pen and ink, oils and crochet, but she dabbles in everything from photography to ceramics. She shares her passion for mathematics and art with her students in classes like Geometry and Explorations in Mathematics, empowering and engaging them through hands-on activities and active learning. She also shares this love through public lectures and workshops at venues such as NerdNite, Japan America Society of Greater Austin, the Phi Beta Kappa honors society, Art.Science.Gallery and the Thinkery. She is the author of a TED-Ed video, The Mathematics of Sidewalk Illusions, and is writing a textbook with co-authors Annalisa Crannell and Marc Frantz titled Perspective and Projective Geometry. 

    “Mathematics is the most elusive of all the arts. It took 8 years of serious study to even begin to understand the medium and begin to work with it in a creative way. Math is art. I wouldn’t be a mathematician otherwise.”
    - Fumiko Futamura

  • Fumiko Futamura’s research lies at the intersection of projective geometry and mathematical perspective. She has co-authored papers on mathematically analyzing Albrecht Dürer’s engravings, understanding the image of a square, finding distortion-free points and sets in photographs, and a new method of determining where to stand to correctly view a two-point perspective painting. She has also published papers in harmonic analysis and frame theory. 

  • Recent: 

    • Jul 2018: Perspectives of a Mathematician Artist, Honors Summer Math Camp Colloquium for high school students, Texas State University
    • Apr 2018: How to Mathematically Immerse Yourself in Art, University Lecture Series, Texas State University
    • Apr 2018: When Artists Become Mathematicians, public lecture, Phi Beta Kappa (En)Lightning Talks Houston
    • Feb 2018: Learning station on hyperbolic crochet coral reefs, Hot Science, Cool Talks, Environmental Science Institute, UT Austin
    • July 2017: Fractals in Japanese Woodblock Prints, Academic Lecture Series, Japan America Society of Greater Austin
    • Jan 2017: The Mathematics of Sidewalk Illusions, TED-Ed Animation and Lesson
    • Dec 2016: Learning station on hyperbolic crochet: Fuzzy Math, Thinkery21 at the Thinkery, Austin, TX
    • Feb 2016: Learning session: Mathematics of perspective drawing, Operation Math Girls Conference for high school students, Sam Houston State University, TX

In the News

  • Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura & Robert Lehr '15
    Southwestern Alum and Math Faculty Win Prizes for Coauthored Paper

    Robert Lehr ’15 and Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura receive the Carl B. Allendoerfer Award