Math and Music in Perfect Harmony
Bill Coberly, associate professor of mathematics majored in mathematics in college but played the trumpet throughout his high school and college career. In the early 1990’s, after many years without a musical outlet, he picked up the trumpet again.
“It was miserable,” Coberly said. “So, even thought I don’t have a good solo voice, I can read music and have a good ear, so I joined my church choir.”
After enjoying church choir for a few years, Coberly decided to join the new Tulsa Oratorio Chorus in 1992, and since then he has learned and performed major choral works. The Oratorio Chorus has three or four performances each season, which runs form September through May each year.
Performing these difficult choral arrangements is hard work. It requires one evening of group practice each week, supplemented by “homework” to master the part. but Coberly said the hard work is worth the effort.
“It is excellent stress relief from the rigors of teaching and research, requiring both mental and physical effort,” Coberly said.
Coberly’s vocal pursuits have continued to stretch. He currently sings in a small ensemble called Counterpoint. The ensemble performs a variety of music from madrigals to contemporary works and performs for a number of community events.
In addition to relieving the stress of his academic profession, Coberly suggests his mathematical and musical lives maybe intertwined at a deeper level.
“I did listen to an play Mozart when I was young,” said Coberly. “So maybe there is something to the myth that music and mathematics are related.”
In the Department of Mathematics, we offer the Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, and Master of Science degrees. To respond to a variety of student preferences, we also categorize programs as mathematics or applied mathematics, although the flavor and emphasis of the department is applied. The BA and BS degrees differ in whether the auxiliary requirements are in languages and liberal arts or in any number of sciences.
With regard to the BS degree, we have enumerated the details of four possible options: computer sciences, engineering, environmental science, and business. There are specific requirements for each of the four options as well as some freedom to tailor them to personal preferences. In addition, we fully support those students who are pursuing teacher certification in mathematics.