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Sunday, August 25, 2019

Opinion

Being a double major proves challenging, rewarding experience


Callie Parrish// The Daily Cougar

Callie Parrish// The Daily Cougar

Many students who double major choose fields that complement each other, often within the same college. What happens when you choose two apparently contrasting fields?

Take mathematics and art — the most objective of subjects versus the most subjective. It sounds like a duel. These two seem to be complete opposites, but with enough thought, any two majors can fit together well.

Most people will focus only on the differences, but in their own way, the two subjects complement each other. Math is everywhere, even in nature. In art, mathematics is just disguised.

Ratios, proportions, shapes and perspective are all mathematical concepts, which constantly appear in art. Without them, we wouldn’t have art. Geometry is used in art as well. Every artist knows perspective geometry. They may not know the rigorous mathematical approach, but they may know the concepts even better than mathematicians.

Although this may seem counterintuitive, mathematics is a creative field, especially with problem solving. Many people view math as nothing but boring algebra, stupid equations that you have to memorize and word problems that make no sense. Math provides the tools that are needed to solve problems, which often calls for thinking outside the box.

In a mathematical proof, you’re tasked with proving something and communicating it in the simplest way possible. The shorter the proof the more elegant it becomes. This can take a lot of time, and is truly an art form. Sometimes, nothing in this world could feel more wonderful than successfully completing a rigorous proof.

Double majors aren’t just for students. Mathematics adviser Tristan Sims practices photography, for example.

“As a photographer, I use math and geometry to create pleasing compositions. Concepts like rule of thirds, perspective at varying focal lengths and hyperfocal distance help to capture not just any photo, but a photo that is pleasing to the eye,” Sims said.

“Starting with the basics, photographers have to use math for the inverse square law, calculating hyperfocal distance, et cetera — lots of algebra. From the creative standpoint, rule of thirds and even print dimensions are vital. Something taken at a 1:1 ratio is going to be different than a 3:2.”

The stress from seeking two degrees in dissimilar fields can get to a student, but the experience of loving two things that fit so well together can be rewarding. Yes, it may seem incomprehensible that both mathematicians and artists are engaged in similar endeavors, but both are interpreting reality. If you open your eyes a little wider, you’ll see the same stands for degrees other than art and math.

Double majoring can open up many opportunities for students. Another degree means one more set of skills to help in your future career.

Opinion columnist Callie Parrish is a mathematics and art senior and may be reached at [email protected]

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