Soccer ball

Math Awareness conference takes a look at the latest soccer ball designs

A creative “arms race” has raged in recent years, transforming traditional black pentagons and white soccer ball hexagons with new graphics and stitching patterns.

Mathematician artist David Swart

Mathematical artist David Swart explored the latest soccer ball designs and spherical geometry on April 11 at the 2019 Math Awareness Month conference, sponsored by the Department of Mathematics at the College of Arts and Sciences. A reception followed the conference.

“Modern soccer ball designs lie in this wonderful intersection between math and art: they allow mathematicians to gain an appreciation for design and sports fans to learn something about geometry,” said Swart.

The mathematical art of Swart includes graphic designs on soccer balls, spherical panoramas and novelty map projections. “My projects involve, most often, spherical images,” Swart said.

Math Awareness Month was created nationwide to increase public understanding and appreciation for math, according to Mary Ann Huntley, director of math awareness and kindergarten education activities. the 12th grade for the mathematics department. In order to participate in the effort, each year the Department of Mathematics sponsors a public lecture on topics in mathematics.

In 2018, Robert Kleinberg, associate professor of computer science at Cornell, spoke about card games, models and calculus.

As part of the Math Awareness Month celebrations, the math department also sponsored a t-shirt design contest at Ithaca High School. Students design t-shirts, and the winning design – as chosen by math teachers at Ithaca High School and teachers, staff, and graduate students in Cornell’s math department – are made into t-shirts. , distributed to students and teachers participating in math awareness activities. Throughout the year, the department engages in outreach activities with the local community and the events aim to facilitate teacher development, provide opportunities for Kindergarten to Grade 12 students, and promote education. math awareness.

For more information on math events and outreach opportunities, visit

Linda B. Glaser is a writer for the College of Arts and Sciences.