The Satisfying World of Mathematician’s Blackboards

Saturday October 19, 2019 Written by James

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Did you know mathematicians are just about the only academics left that use chalkboards? And it’s not just tweed-jacket elitism or because maths departments are woefully underfunded.

According to photographer, Jessica Wynne, who spent a year shooting mathematician’s blackboards around America, chalk simply feels better. It’s cheaper and biodegradable. And there’s something satisfying about chalk-stained fingers and clapping erasers that you just don’t get from Bluetooth-enabled virtual whiteboards with built-in surround sound.

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“I am also fascinated by the process of working on the chalkboard,” Wynne says. “Despite technological advances, and the creation of computers, this is how the masters choose to work.”

Wynne’s project is called Do Not Erase. We have no way of knowing if these mathematical theories are accurate (they could be deranged doodles or occult soup recipes for all we know), but they’re oddly soothing, in a Good Will Hunting-sort of way.

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