Featured Links: Fibonacci Sculptures

This video is not an animation. These are solid sculptures that, when spun under a strobe light, seem to move. The result is a little dizzying, but beautiful. Video here.

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Each piece is designed with the golden ratio in mind, and each has a Fibonacci number of spirals.

The creator of these sculptures, artist John Edmark, says he uses mathematics throughout his work:

I employ precise mathematics in the design and fabrication of my work. I do this neither out of a desire to exhibit precision per se, nor to exalt the latest technology, but because the questions I’m trying to formulate and answer about spatial relationships can only be addressed with geometrically exacting constructions. Mathematical precision is an essential ally in my goal of achieving clarity.

Many of his pieces have a sort of peaceful symmetry.

Articulated Spiral III

More is available on his website.

Math has beautiful order and symmetry, but it can be hard to see it in words on a page. It is interesting to see the ways that mathematical patterns are expressed in this artist’s work.

Featured Links: Math with Bad Drawings

Welcome to Featured Links! This is a blog category about interesting math-y stuff offsite.

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Card tricks, disappearing pizza, awkward poetry, and headlines from a parallel universe: what’s not to love? Math with Bad Drawings is a blog about teaching and math, sprinkled with the author’s signature whiteboard doodles.

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The blog has lots of silly posts, like A Math Professor Consults on a Hollywood Movie. Get ready to cringe.

Executive: Let’s say you wanted to get every car in the city to stop, by hacking into the traffic system and turning the lights to red. What equation would a mathematician use?

Professor: That’s not what mathematicians do.

ExecutiveBut if you did, what would you use?

Professor: Traffic cones.

Executive: No, I mean with computers.

And Don’t Let a Mathematician Write Your Political Slogans:

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Some posts are more serious and thought-provoking, like Fistfuls of Sand (or, Why It Pays to Be a Stubborn Teacher). This post made me appreciate my high school teachers in a totally different way.

Teaching often feels like throwing fistfuls of sand into the ocean. You watch the particles spread and sink, a pointless cloud, and you feel like a fool for ever imagining it would go better. You try again the next day, to the same result: nothing. You keep at it, bucket after bucket of sand, and it never seems to make any difference, until one day, you toss in one more cup of sand, and… there it sits on the surface, a tiny newborn island.

Other great teaching posts are Wrong But Not Stupid and The Hard-to-Tell Story of the High School Classroom.

Another interesting post, also published in Slate, is applicable to both the mathematician to the math-phobic. What It Feels Like to Be Bad at Math:

Thanks to a childhood of absurd privilege, I entered college well-prepared. As a sophomore in the weed-out class for Yale math majors, I earned the high score on the final exam. After that, it seemed plausible to me that I’d never fail at anything mathematical.

But senior spring, I ran into Topology. A little like a bicycle running into a tree.

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And of course, there are posts about math itself: check out 0.999…. and the Debate that Repeats Forever.

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Want to see more? Check out the Author’s Choice page or the main site.

Featured Links: Vi Hart

Welcome to Featured Links! This is a blog category about interesting math-y stuff offsite.

Vi Hart is a self-proclaimed “recreational mathemusician.” To put it simply, she doodles about math for fun (and makes music, too).

What’s great about her videos is that they never seem to discuss anything particularly educational or useful. They’re just pretty spirals, animals, stick figures, and weird triangles… until suddenly you realize that you’ve been looking at math all along.

Vi Hart’s YouTube channel is a great place to (1) waste time on the Internet and (2) have your mind absolutely blown. Warning: she talks reallyreallyreallyfast. Don’t worry if you don’t catch everything she says – I know I never do. Here are links to a few of her videos.

Doodling in Math Class: DRAGONS

Doodling in Math: Spirals, Fibonacci, and Being a Plant

 Open Letter to Nickelodeon, Re: SpongeBob’s Pineapple under the Sea. This one makes more sense if you’ve already watched the video above.

 Sound Braid. This one’s got music!