Dr. Laura Taalman

Professor of Mathematics, James Madison University



3D printing and computational design


Current CV




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Recent Publications

Peer-reviewed published articles

Modeling Dynamical Systems for 3D Printing

Stephen Lucas, Evelyn Sander, and Laura Taalman
Notices of the American Mathematical Society, to appear 2020

Wallpaper Patterns for Lattice Designs

Laura Taalman and Carolyn Yackel
Bridges Aalto Proceedings, to appear 2020

Optimizing Morton’s Knots for Rolling

Abigail Eget, Stephen Lucas, and Laura Taalman
Bridges Aalto Proceedings, to appear 2020

Opportunity costs in the game of best choice

Madeline Crews, Brant Jones, Kaitlyn Myers, Laura Taalman, Michael Urbanski, and Breeann Wilson
Electronic Journal of Combinatorics, Volume 26, Issue #1, 2019

Sequences of Spiral Knot Determinants

Ryan Stees and Laura Taalman
Journal of Integer Sequences, Volume 19, Issue #1, 2016

Calculus with Functions I

MATH 231, Fall 2020
STEM Calculus I with Precalculus
Online Sections 01, 03, 07, 12

Discrete Mathematics and Introduction to Proof

MATH 245, Fall 2018
Bridge course for the major


A blog about design, math, and failure

10 Quick Tips for Building an Interactive Math Course in Canvas

10 Quick Tips for Building an Interactive Math Course in Canvas 1906 1452 mathgrrl

Fall semester is coming and you’re teaching online… let’s pause for a small scream 😭

Next year we’ll all be experts and there will be no end of talks, papers, and blog posts that we can use to figure out what to do. But right now we need the quick and dirty. What can we do NOW, and fast, to make our online math course content more interactive and engaging? If you’re getting ready to teach math online and your school’s LMS is Canvas, here are 10 quick tips to get you rolling.

Fitted Face Mask for People Who Aren’t Great at Sewing

Fitted Face Mask for People Who Aren’t Great at Sewing 2560 1920 mathgrrl

Over the past weeks I’ve iterated mask designs many times, acquired a bunch of sewing supplies, and learned from a lot of online patterns and videos. This mask design has a sewn-in nose wire, elastic loops that go all the way around your head, a filter sewn inside the mask, and minimal exposed seams. It’s washable and reversible, so you can decide which side is the outside after you’re done sewing it, or each time you wash it.

Using LaTeX with the New Canvas Quiz Engine

Using LaTeX with the New Canvas Quiz Engine 800 601 mathgrrl

Okay. Deep breath. It’s time to start figuring out how to teach online… I mean, how to do Actually Do It Well, not just as an emergency solution thrown together over a frenzied and sleepless week. There is a lot to work to do, so let’s start with something small: online math quizzes. In this post we’ll walk through how to use LaTeX typesetting in both the new and legacy Canvas quiz engines.

Laser Cutting from a 3D File

Laser Cutting from a 3D File 640 480 mathgrrl

To make files for laser cutting, you need two-dimensional information. You could download a picture from the internet, draw something yourself, or create an image in a program like Illustrator or Inkscape. In this post we’ll walk through the process of creating a 2D-laser-cuttable SVG file from a 3D-printable STL file using the free online in-browser modeling program Tinkercad.

Origami Press #2: Yoshizawa Butterfly

Origami Press #2: Yoshizawa Butterfly 2016 1512 mathgrrl

Our second origami press is a helper for folding a beautiful and elegant butterfly model designed by Akira Yoshizawa. One of the final folds of this butterfly model pulls the paper together past its natural fold line, which is what creates the organic, curvy shape of the finished model. This press enables the folder to make this crucial fold very cleanly and thus produces a more reliable butterfly model…


Mathematical surface design for everyone

HYPERBOLIC - Curvy hyperbolic paraboloids formed by strategically placed straight line segments
SIERPINSKI - Triangles in positive and negative space arranged to make randomly colored Sierpinski fractals

Taking Sudoku Seriously

The math behind the world’s most popular pencil puzzle

This book uses the popular Sudoku craze as the starting point for a fun-filled introduction to higher mathematics

Taalman/Kohn Calculus

Flexible, modular textbooks for any classroom

A streamlined, structured exposition of calculus that combines the clarity of classic textbooks with a modern perspective and uncluttered design
This innovative text is the only book to interweave calculus with precalculus and algebra in a manner suitable for math and science majors
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