By George Hart for the Museum of Mathematics


Beading is a traditional craft which recently has been applied to make interesting mathematical models. Here are some impressive examples by Bih-Yaw Jin, starting with a beaded Mobius strip.


A beaded helical surface twists through space like a cork screw.


All five Platonic solids are shown here, using beads for their edges: octahedron, cube, tetrahedron, icosahedron, and dodecahedron.


This is a model of a high-genus Fullerene, which in principle could be synthesized from carbon atoms.


Given enough patience, this triply-periodic minimal surface could, in principle, be extended in all directions.


What interesting shapes can you make with beads?


Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor for Boing Boing and WINK Books. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.