Presentation Title

Permutations and Sona Drawings

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

School

School of Sciences and Social Sciences

Discipline

Mathematics

Mentor

Karen Stanish

Abstract

The Chokwe people of central and southern Africa create designs in sand called sona drawings. In a typical mathematical manner, we ask whether these drawings can be created without lifting a finger from the sand. However, there are several patterns employed in sona drawings, adding more facets to our question. In this presentation, we will break down sona drawings into basic patterns within their rows and columns, answer our question using a function that exchanges numbers within a set, as well as techniques from both abstract algebra and number theory, and use mathematics to provide a greater appreciation for the sand drawings.

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Permutations and Sona Drawings

The Chokwe people of central and southern Africa create designs in sand called sona drawings. In a typical mathematical manner, we ask whether these drawings can be created without lifting a finger from the sand. However, there are several patterns employed in sona drawings, adding more facets to our question. In this presentation, we will break down sona drawings into basic patterns within their rows and columns, answer our question using a function that exchanges numbers within a set, as well as techniques from both abstract algebra and number theory, and use mathematics to provide a greater appreciation for the sand drawings.