Norton Starr

Born 1936-06-18 in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

Norton Starr is a Professor Emeritus of Mathematics 
and Computer Science at the Department of Mathematics, Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts, USA.

He does not identify himself primarily as a visual artist but as a mathematician using computer graphics to illustrate mathematical functions with variables and basic graphs within a spiral design. A lot of his artistic work was developed in 1972-1973, during a sabbatical taken at the computer center of the Department of Combinatorics and Optimization at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Many of his compositions illustrating functions of two variables have appeared in various texts in mathematics and in computer science.

Starr came to Amherst from MIT, where he earned a Ph.D. in mathematics, served as an instructor and received the Goodwin Medal for “conspicuously effective teaching.”

Named a full professor at Amherst in 1978, Starr has taught courses in advanced calculus, complex variables, probability, statistics and data analysis, among other subjects. He also taught a first-year seminar in computers and society.

Seven of his geometric works were included in the Herbert W. Franke Collections that were acquired by Kunsthalle Bremen in 2006.

Programming languages/software used: FORTRAN


1958 A.B. in Mathematics at Harvard College, Cambridge, Massachussetts, USA.
1959 Member of the Mathematical Association of America. Lecturer in Mathematics at the University of Kansas City, Missouri, USA.
1963 Member of the American Mathematical Society.
1964 Doctorate in Mathematics at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).
1966 Professor of Mathematics at Amherst College (Massachusetts) – Chair of the department from 1976 to 1979 and from 1984 to 1987.
1972-73 Developed an interest for computer graphics during a sabbatical from Amherst College while working at the Department of Combinatorics and Optimization, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.
2009 Retired from Amherst College.


1974 Beauty in Science, Science in Art, Pennsylvania State University.
1975 ‘PRINTOUT’, Watson Gallery, Wheaton College. ‘Third International Computer Art Festival’, CUNY, New York City. ‘Canadian Computer Show’, Toronto. ‘ACM ‘75’, Minneapolis, MN.
1976 ‘National Prints and Drawings Exhibition’, Warbeke Gallery, Mount Holyoke College.
1976ACM ’76, The Association for Computing Machinery Annual Conference’, Houston, TX.
1977ICCH 3, The Third International Conference on Computing in the Humanities’, Waterloo, Ontario. ‘International Computer Arts Exhibition’, Tokyo.
1978 ‘Art and the Computer’, Worcester Art Museum. Sixth New Zealand Computer Conference, Auckland.
1989 ‘Computer Art in Czechoslovakia and the World’, Palace of Culture, Prague. Printmaking: at the speed of thought, The Print Club, Philadelphia.
1995 Henion Bakery Gallery, Amherst, MA.
2007 ‘Ex Machina – Frühe Computergrafik bis 1979’, Kunsthalle Bremen, Bremen, Germany.


Norton Starr teaching at Amherst College. (Picture taken by Frank Ward)