Math Monday: Mathematical beading

Craft & Design Science
Math Monday: Mathematical beading

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 is a freelance 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 to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at garstipsandtools.com.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn

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