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By George Hart for the Museum of Mathematics

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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.

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

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

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

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

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What interesting shapes can you make with beads?

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Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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