Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hyperbolic Coral Reef- experimental mathematics through craft

There is a great exhibition on at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney called "Hyperbolic Coral Reef".

The Hyperbolic Coral Reef is part of a global project initiated by the discovery that crotchet is the most effective way of creating a model of algorithmic fractals. Hyperbolic crotchet was discovered by mathematician Dr. Daina Taimina a mathematician at Cornell in the U.S. Before Dr Taimina's discovery mathematicians believed that it was impossible to make a model of hyperbolic forms. These forms ave been observed many times in nature and serve the purpose of maximizing surface area for the volume of the organisms creating a greater opportunity for filter feeding. Many organisms such as kelps, corals, and nudibranchs use hyperbolic geometry in their underlying structures.

"Though experience often serves as a guide, there is no way to know in advance what a specific algorithm will produce and we have many times been surprised when seemingly insignificant changes in the underlying pattern led to fundamentally new results. In a very real sense, this is a kind of experimental mathematics and we invite crocheters everywhere to explore for themselves the possibilities inherent in these techniques."
From the Institute for Figuring website

I have long suspected that my Mum who is brilliant at handicraft among other things has a had secret knowledge of the universe...... Sitting there for years with all sorts of things forming out of wool and thread she was engaged in more than I could have ever imagined!

Anyone can take part in this global project. Just click on the links in this post.


KraftXCore said...

intrestingly, i was sitting in a local coffee shop the other day and ran into a classmate who said he was studying, and i was knitting, and he mentioned how you can crochet algorithms, and i told him id have to check it out, but then forgot. and here i am, seeing it again here! how cool!

KraftXCore said...

this is so strange- i was getting coffee the other day and ran into a classmate, and somehow the conversation came to him mentioning this exact same thing! since i can crochet, i said i would check it out, yet forgot until i stumbled upon it again here just now!

Anna said...

I always thought Crochet patterns were like maths problems. Thanks for the link :)