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By Glen Whitney for the Museum of Mathematics

Math Monday banner02 600px Math Monday: Prime Wardrobe

Although Math Mondays has featured mathematical clothing before, it turns out there is an entire subgenre of clothing and accessories featuring those indivisible nuggets of the arithmetical world, the prime numbers. These range from the most basic, a list of prime numbers on the front (and composites on the back!) by “Longtalker” on Zazzle:

primes vs composites customized t shirt rccc0a0c077f84efb82052555ac1a8407 f0czj 512 Math Monday: Prime Wardrobe

to an elegantly simple grid colored yellow or black depending on whether or not the corresponding number is prime, by EllieTs on CafePress

primes black longsleeve Math Monday: Prime Wardrobe


to this lovely hand-knitted sweater by Sondra Eklund which not only highlights the primes but in fact encodes the prime factorization of every number up to 100:

pfsweater front Math Monday: Prime Wardrobe

And here’s a variation on Sondra’s idea, a t-shirt using pie charts to encode the same information, by John Graham-Cumming:

prime factorization shirt Math Monday: Prime Wardrobe

Note the different order in which the numbers are presented by Sondra and John: one in “coordinate grid” order, and the other in “matrix entries” order. Finally, to wrap up this week’s collection, a linear presentation of the prime factorizations: a scarf which Sondra Eklund is (at least as of 2012 May 18, according to her blog) currently knitting.

pf scarf to 24 Math Monday: Prime Wardrobe

(Thanks to the folks at Math Munch for the lead on today’s mathematical haberdashery.)

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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 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.


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