I come from a family of English professors and artists, yet the sciences — especially mathematics — is where I have thrived, perhaps because mathematics straddles the gap between the sciences and the arts. Mathematics discovers the common ground out of which art and science both grow and speak to each other.

I’ve cultivated this shared ground by relying on what I call “literalization,” transforming concrete evidence and abstract ideas into narratives and accessible descriptions that put readers, writers, and me into the same world.

Mathematical modeling re-iterates the notion of a common ground out of which grow a variety of disciplines. Mathematical models problematize the desire for a truly representative language.

Nora Ellen Culik