Monday, March 29, 2010

Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes

Daina Taimina's book mixing math and crochet won the UK's 'Odd' Prize, the Diagram Award with a non-euclidean tribute to home economic arts. "Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes" is filled with over 200 color photograph's and Taimina, a mathematics professor at Cornell University, also gives you a delightful crash course in curvature and differential geometry using examples like pears and kale to represent complex forms.

The pictures are so awesome I don't know what to do with myself. The images are organic, futuristic and (dare I say) a little bit steam punk in application. Why, why aren't all of our clothes made with hyperbolic planes?

For a more in-depth explanation of hyperbolic geometry including an interview with Taimina, "Crocheting the Hyperbolic Plane: An Interview with David Henderson and Daina Taimina," by Cabinet Magazine contains vivid examples. For more about Taimina, the London Times article, "How crochet solved an age-old maths problem," has an interesting (if albeit overtly patriarchal) overview on how this traditionally feminine handicraft was initially dismissed by Taimina's friends and family but went on to fuel her breakthrough in modeling impossible mathematical forms.

The London Mathematical Society called it a coffee table book of the highest quality and the images should inspire mathematicians and crafty fingers alike. Math is delicious!

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