Tom is a second-year PhD student in the Department of Germanic Studies under the supervision of Dr Caitríona Leahy. His research explores overlap between aesthetic modernism and a field often considered separate to cultural production, namely mathematics, which likewise experienced its own “modernism” around 1900. Undermining the enduring notion that mathematics and the arts form two irreconcilable cultures, Tom’s research highlights the so-called “Raumproblem” (the Problem of Space) of the late 19th and early 20th centuries as an area of intersection.
Does the changing nature of space in mathematics share influence with the philosophical ruptures behind aesthetic modernism? Is there overlap in how space is expressed and represented in modern mathematics and modern art and literature? Such questions are central to this research project. Mathematics is, at its core, a written language: Its spaces are rendered in language, just like those conjured up in the modern text. This fundamental commonality, surely, is enough to demonstrate that the divide between these disciplines needs to be overcome in order to address these overarching questions above.
Tom holds a BA in German and Mathematics from Trinity College Dublin and an MA in Comparative Literature from the Universität of Jena, Germany.