Ann Robertson, Senior Lecturer, Mathematics
Ann Robertson, senior lecturer in mathematics, joined Connecticut College in 1998 and retired in 2013.

She passed away in November, 2013.

Robertson held a bachelor's degree from the University of Connecticut and an master of science in mathematics from Trinity College.

Her areas of specialization included geometric issues, including fractal geometry; math and the Arts, including the mathematics of the Alhambra; Ethnomathematics, and information technology.

She stated: "My goal in teaching is to help students gain confidence so that they can enjoy mathematics and see its usefulness within the liberal arts curriculum. Students can then view the subject as a creative, evolving and engaging discipline useful for improving life-long learning skills of critical thinking and problem solving... "

Robertson's work involved her pursuit of connections between classical and contemporary mathematics particularly in geometric issues. She was interested in the fractional dimensionality of Jackson Pollock’s drip period, the symmetries present at the Alhambra, ethnomathematics and middle-school math education.

Robertson taught college-level mathematics courses with a focus on general education (GE). She had particular success with real-life contexts and collaborative learning projects in her teaching. For example, she worked with colleagues in the math department to design a “Mathematics from a Cultural Perspective” course based on a modular approach. The project was awarded a 2004 grant from the Connecticut College Center for Teaching & Learning. This ethnomath course led to the development of her first year seminar, “Fractals, Chaos and Culture,” in 2006.

In March 2005 and 2006, Robertson also received a MAA/Tensor grant for the project proposal, Fractal Geometry For Girls [(FG)2]. The goal of the project was to design and implement a series of workshops for middle-grades educators and “at-risk” middle-school girls from Bridgeport and New London, Conn. In June 2008, Robertson launched a fractal math website for the teachers and students at Additionally, she participated in the CTW (Connecticut College, Trinity College, and Wesleyan University) Mellon Project for Information Literacy.

Robertson was a member of the American Mathematical Society; International Society for Art, Mathematics and Architecture; the International Study Group on Ethnomathematics; Mathematics Association of America; Pi Mu Epsilon Mathematics Honorary Society; the Northeast Consortium on Quantitative Literacy; Lyman Allyn Art Museum; Newport Art Museum and the Wadsworth Atheneum.

Presentations and papers by Ann Robertson:

  • January 2010, “A Feigenbaum Face.” Arts and Mathematics session II, Joint Math meeting--AMS (American Mathematical Society) and MAA (Mathematical Association of America)--Arts and Math session, San Francisco, CA
  • August 2009, “Beyond Math and the Arts.” MAA Arts and Mathematics session. Portland, OR
  • April 2009, “Mathematics from a Cultural Perspective: A Geometric Focus.” Ethnomathematics course. Rhode Island College. Providence, RI
  • January 2008, “Teaching an Ethnomath Course Through the Lens of Geometry.” MAA  Session, San Diego, CA
  • October 2007, “Self-Similarity, IFS, Fractal Dimensions—What’s Jackson Pollock’s ‘Drip Period’ got to do with it?” Senior Math Seminar, Connecticut College
  • July 2007, “Revisiting the Geometry of the Sala de Dos Hermanas.” Proceedings, Bridges Donostia—Presentation: School of Architecture, University of the Basque Country, San Sebastian (Donostia), Spain
  • June 2004, "The Alhambra and the Grammar of Ornament, Preliminary Results," Proceedings of ISAMA (International Society of the Arts, Mathematics and Architecture), DePaul University, Chicago, IL
  • November 2003, “A Web-based (WebCT) Introductory Course in Differential and Integral Calculus”, Proceedings of ICTCM (International Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics), Chicago, IL.
  • October 2002, "Partnerships in Mathematics: Connecticut College and BDJMS -Introduction to Fractal Geometry and Its Applications," Fractal Geometry Workshop, Yale University, New Haven, CT
  • April 2001, Presentiments of Fractal Geometry in the Arts, Fractal Geometry Workshop, Yale University, New Haven, CT
  • January 2000,"Teaching Liberal Arts Mathematics Courses with an Interdisciplinary Paper / Project Requirement," American Mathematics Society's History of Mathematics and Education Contributed Paper Session, Joint Meeting, Washington, DC
  • November 1999, "Geometric Issues and Multimedia," ICTCM, Boston, MA.
  • August 1999, "Is Geometry Subconscious?", General Contributed Paper Session, MathFest 99, Providence, RI
  • January 1999, Robertson and Wertheimer; Geometry and the Arts; MAA Special Session on Geometry in the Classroom in the Next Millennium, I; Joint Meeting of AMS and MAA, San Antonio, TX

Academic activities:

  • Ongoing  field research: Studies of Jackson Pollock’s work using archival material, films and outtakes, published and unpublished works, theses, critiques and reviews; interviews at museums, libraries, foundations and art galleries; and experimentation using paint and software for manuscript in progress, Jackson Pollock: Art Meets Mathematics
  • March 2010, Reviewer: Paper on simultaneous color contrast for the proceedings of a math and arts conference
  • Dec. 2009-April 2010: Taught three ethnomath sessions for Education 304 - Mathematics and Science in the Elementary School, Connecticut College: “Introducing Ethnomath into the Elementary & Middles Grades Curriculum,” Euclidean geometry within the Incan civilization and the Moors’ Alhambra,” and “African fractals and non-Euclidean geometry within the Inuit (1880-1920) culture”
  • July 2009, Reviewer: Paper on fractal geometry using dimensional analysis for chaos section of a computer graphics journal
  • July 2008, Reviewer: Paper on projections of the Sierpinski hypertetrahedron for chaos section of a computer graphics journal
  • Taught workshops for Math/Science (LEARN) Grant participants, April, 2008, and Dec. 2006
  • 2001-June 2006: Working Member of Fractal Geometry NSF Grant of Michael Frame, Benoit Mandelbrot, and Nial Neger, Yale University
  • September 2000–June 2007: Presenting workshops on fractal geometry for elementary and middle school educators and for CAMPY (The Connecticut Association of Mathematically Precocious Youth)
  • January 2004, Co-organized and Chaired “Math and the Arts” sessions for the joint meeting of MAAand AMS, Phoenix, AZ
  • Spring 2001: Designed two week fractal geometry curriculum unit with middle school teachers under a Lucent grant
  • January 2000: Chaired session of AMS's History of Mathematics and Education Contributed Paper Session, Joint Meetings, AMS and MAA, Washington DC