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Sybil Prince Nelson is the Next Speaker in the Anne and Edgar Basse Jr. Author Talk Series Nelson will deliver a lecture on “Where Math Meets Imagination” on March 19.

Sybil-Prince-Nelson-2-600x400 Sybil Prince Nelson is the Next Speaker in the Anne and Edgar Basse Jr. Author Talk Series

Sybil Prince Nelson ’01, assistant professor of mathematics, will deliver a lecture on “Where Math Meets Imagination” at Washington and Lee University at 12:30 p.m. on March 19 in the Harte Center Gallery inside Leyburn Library. The talk is free and open to the public.

The lecture is sponsored by the Department of English, the Department of Mathematics, the Data Science Program and the University Library and is part of the University Library’s Anne and Edgar Basse Jr. Author Talk series, which invites W&L faculty to showcase their scholarship to the campus community. The Basse series is made possible by the Anne W. and Edgar A. Basse Jr. (’39) Endowment, which was created in 1988 to support the varied activities of the University Library Special Collections & Archives.

In her talk, Nelson will unveil the unexpected ways in which mathematical concepts underpin the creative arts, from literature and music to visual storytelling. She will explore how patterns, structures and the beauty of mathematical logic enhance narrative depth, character development and thematic complexity in storytelling.

Nelson’s unique position to discuss the symbiotic relationship between the analytical and the creative derives from her dual career as a mathematics professor and author. Writing under the pen names Sybil Nelson, Leslie DuBois and Tamaika Belen, she engages readers with compelling narratives in science fiction and contemporary romance, and her work is notable for weaving together mathematical concepts and themes of racial diversity. Her latest series, Jane Austen in Space, combines her appreciation for British literature with her passion for science fiction and multiculturalism.

“Writing is something that I love to do and have been doing all of my life as a creative outlet,” Nelson said. “I look forward to talking about my inspiration to write and how it feeds into my mathematics career. The two fields of study might seem disparate, but there are so many interesting intersections between them.”

Mathematics and creative writing are just a glimpse of Nelson’s multifaceted profile. She also plays the piano and the double bass, is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and is currently learning Korean, Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese and Vietnamese. Her love of languages enriches her storytelling, bringing diverse cultures and perspectives to her readers.

Nelson received her bachelor’s degree from W&L, her master’s degree from the College of Charleston and her doctorate in biostatistics from the Medical University of South Carolina. She joined W&L’s faculty in 2020.