The Mathematics of Being Human

What did King Lear know about binary numbers? Who gets us closer to the truth: poets or mathematicians? Come see this humorous spin on classroom battles waged by two vehement defenders of their own academic turf: a mathematician and an English instructor, corralled into teaching an inter-disciplinary course, who struggle to find common ground. Their hapless students are frequently perplexed but thoroughly entertained as they witness the professors acting pettily, stubbornly, passionately--in other words, being human!

This original play was co-written by two professors from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County: acclaimed mathematician/novelist Manil Suri, who is a regular contributor to the New York Times, and dramaturg Michele Osherow, an expert on Shakespeare, Biblical and Jewish American Literature, and Women's Studies.

Inspired by the authors' own experience as team-teachers of a UMBC freshman seminar called "Mathematics and What It Means to be Human," the play has enjoyed resounding praise from audiences at various venues, including Waterloo (Canada), San Antonio, and New York, with a January production slated to occur in New Delhi. A recent performance in Baltimore was praised by critics as "witty and lighthearted;" "a heady piece that engages its audience's minds" and a "mixture of comic self-mockery with an informed authenticity."

The event is also sponsored by the Departments of English, Statistics, Computer Science, Mathematics, and Theatre Arts, as well as the University Honors College. Tickets are free but we ask that you RSVP ahead of time. To RSVP, click here. For more information, contact Nancy Pfenning at


Wednesday, March 30, 2016 - 8:00pm to Saturday, April 2, 2016 - 8:00pm

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Location and Address

Henry Heymann Theater