Fumiko Futamura

Notable Achievements

Three faculty members and a student joined over five thousand mathematicians at the largest math gathering in the world, Joint Mathematics Meetings, in Boston, MA, January 4-7, 2023. The American Mathematical Society (AMS) and the undergraduate mathematics honor society Pi Mu Epsilon (PME) were among the fifteen partner professional organizations. Assistant Professor of Mathematics John Ross presented “Isoperimetric solutions to a 1-dimensional problem within regions and log-concave density” in the AMS Contributed Paper Session on Topics in Analysis and Control Theory. Professor of Mathematics Fumiko Futamura co-led a four-hour Professional Enhancement Program, “Visualizing Projective Geometry Through Photographs and Perspective Drawings,” with Annalisa Crannell of Franklin & Marshall College. Professor of Mathematics Alison Marr presented “Distance Magic Labelings of Directed Graphs” in the AMS Special Session on The Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education Program (EDGE): Pure and Applied Talks by Women Math Warriors. She also participated in multiple events in her capacity as Co-director of EDGE. Associate Professor of Mathematics Therese Shelton presented “Cars, Competition, and Cholera” in the AMS Special Session on Stimulating Student Engagement in Differential Equations through Modeling Activities. Oliver Johnson ’24 presented “Perspective Analysis of Van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait” in the PME Contributed Session on Research by Undergraduates. This research was supervised by Futamura.

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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

  • 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