An icon (from the Greek for “image”) is defined as a picture that is universally recognized to be representative of something. The world is full of distinctive icons. Flags and shields represent countries, graphic designs represent commercial enterprises, and computer icons are essential tools for working with a variety of electronic devices from desktop computers to smart phones.
What are the icons of mathematics? Numerals? Symbols? Equations? After many years of working with visual proofs, I believe that certain geometric diagrams play a crucial role in visualizing mathematical proofs. In this talk I’ll present several of these diagrams, which I call math icons, and explore the mathematics that lies within, and that can be created with them.