Margaret Corn

A PhD student in Columbia's Classical Studies Graduate Program, Margaret is interested in ancient music and mathematics. More specifically, her research focuses on the Pythagorean tradition, examining the influences thereupon and the interrelation of technical disciplines therein, as well as the reception of the Pythagoreans' unique mathematical metaphysics in Platonic philosophy. In her MA thesis, Margaret reconstructed the Pythagorean musical, mathematical, and astronomical features of the Timaeus, with an eye toward understanding the philosophical difficulties arising from the geometrical characterization of Platonic body. In addition, Margaret recreated 31 ancient scales in her "Ancient Greek Scale Project," for which she visually mapped out tuning patterns, calculated the corresponding numerical values, and generated audio files for each scale. She presented portions of the former project at the Gesellschaft für antike Philosophie's Philosophische Literatur–Literarische Philosophie  Workshop in 2021.

Margaret is also interested in art history, particularly where it intersects with her philosophical research. She has examined astronomical ceiling decorations in New Kingdom pharaonic tombs, the Pythagorean and Neoplatonic significance of geometrical motifs in medieval cathedrals, and the political and art historical context informing the Naples Tyrannicide Sculptural Group (her paper on the last of these topics won Columbia's 2021 Classical Studies Essay Prize). She has also excavated at Hadrian's Villa in Italy with Columbia's Advanced Program of Ancient History and Art and studied medieval-era textile conservation in Greece with the Balkan Heritage Field School, scientific analytical techniques for Cambodian technical ceramics at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and photogrammetry at New York University.

As a graduate student at Columbia, Margaret has been a teaching assistant for courses on Plato and the history of philosophy (covering ancient Greek philosophical schools/traditions/figures including the Eleatics, Atomists, Plato, Aristotle, Stoics, and Skeptics). She also taught an original comparative ancient Greek and Chinese philosophy class in Beijing as a 2019 Symposium Fellow.

Margaret studied Classics and Art History as an undergraduate at Columbia University, where she graduated summa cum laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa after her junior year. Her BA thesis on Iliadic self-consciousness received the Ernest Stadler Prize for Excellence in the Study of Classical Antiquity.

In her free time, Margaret writes music (including an orchestral composition supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Public Humanities Initiative), makes films and animations with the production company she founded in 2012, and takes aerial photographs. She is also an avid language learner and most recently studied Hindi as part of the U.S. Department of State's Critical Language Scholarship Program. Email Margaret Corn.