Written in 1884 by E.A. Abbott, an English clergyman and headmaster of the City of London School, Flatland centres on the adventures of a two-dimensional square discovering the possibility of a three-dimensional world. Flatland is really an exploration of transcendence, the ability to see the unseen order behind the surface reality of everyday life. Mathematics and religion both seek to describe this unseen order behind reality. In this discussion of Flatland, a scholar of religion and a professor of mathematics will explore the nature of transcendence, the ability to move beyond one’s limited dimension to see the unseeable and to think the unthinkable.
Benoit Charbonneau is Assistant Professor of Mathematics at St. Jerome’s University and a member of the Pure Mathematics Department at the University of Waterloo. He is a differential geometer, and studies more specifically gauge theory and geometric analysis. His research centres on the intersection between mathematics and high-energy physics. He also collaborates on interdisciplinary efforts that focus on understanding glass formation and has developed the St. Jerome’s University Bridge Lecture Series to foster wider scientific education.
David Seljak is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at St. Jerome’s University and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Waterloo. His research interests are in religion and multiculturalism in Canada as well as religious perspectives on contemporary religious issues. His undergraduate course Evil (RS 121) was listed in Maclean’s magazine as a point of interest at the University of Waterloo. He has co-edited (with Paul Bramadat) Religion and Ethnicity in Canada and Christianity and Ethnicity in Canada.
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St. Jerome's University
Canadian Mathematical Society