Geometry of the Earth and Universe Labs: From the Classroom to Current Research

Sarah J Greenwald

While geometry means measuring the earth, too often it is presented in an axiomatic way, divorced from reality and experiences. A segment on the geometry of the earth and universe stretches the imagination while developing visualization skills and highlighting real-world applications of geometry and connections to art, philosophy, physics, astronomy and geography. This segment can be aimed at students with no math background, at graduate students in geometry and topology, or at any level student in between.

We will explore a series of labs on the geometry of the earth and universe that have been used in a junior honors seminar for undergraduate mathematics majors on the applications of geometry. Modified versions of these labs have successfully been implemented in a liberal arts mathematics class and in courses for teachers (available at Each lab develops visualization skills while taking advantage of various technologies and manipulatives.