40 posts tagged with math and geometry.
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Animated math

Essence of linear algebra - "[Grant Sanderson of 3Blue1Brown (now at Khan Academy) animates] the geometric intuitions underlying linear algebra, making the many matrix and vector operations feel less arbitrary." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 11, 2016 - 17 comments


Compass-and-straightedge construction (aka Euclidean construction) is a method of drawing precise geometric figures using only a compass and a straightedge (like a ruler without the markings). MathOpenRef maintains a catalog of many common constructions, each with an explanatory animation and a proof. This YouTube video demonstrates how to construct almost every polygon that can be constructed using these methods. [more inside]
posted by jedicus on Sep 8, 2016 - 20 comments

Babylonian (Pre)Calculus!

Signs of Modern Astronomy Seen in Ancient Babylon - "Scientists have found a small clay tablet with markings indicating that a sort of precalculus technique was used to track Jupiter's motion in the night sky." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 29, 2016 - 15 comments

Inspired by mathematical theorems or open problems...

Conveyer Belt Font. More mathematical and puzzle fonts/typefaces you can play with in your browser. Read about them in the article Fun with Fonts: Algorithmic Typography. [PDF]
posted by Wolfdog on Sep 8, 2015 - 6 comments

New Pentagons

Mathematicians discover a new type of pentagon that can cover the plane leaving no gaps and with no overlaps. It becomes only the 15th type of pentagon known that can do this, and the first discovered in 30 years. [more inside]
posted by Metroid Baby on Aug 11, 2015 - 53 comments

Thanks, Common Core.

Thanks, Common Core. Physics blogger Chad Orzel writes about the way kids do math now. (Spoiler: he likes it.) [more inside]
posted by escabeche on Jan 15, 2015 - 65 comments

No Pentagons

Imperfect Congruence - It is a curious fact that no edge-to-edge regular polygon tiling of the plane can include a pentagon ... This website explains the basic mathematics of a particular class of tilings of the plane, those involving regular polygons such as triangles or hexagons. As will be shown, certain combinations of regular polygons cannot be extended to a full tiling of the plane without involving additional shapes, such as rhombs. The site contains some commentary on Renaissance research on this subject carried out by two renowned figures, the mathematician-astronomer Johannes Kepler and the artist Albrecht Dürer. [more inside]
posted by Wolfdog on Jan 14, 2015 - 16 comments

Alexander Grothendieck

Alexander Grothendieck, who brought much of contemporary mathematics into being with the force of his uncompromising vision, is dead at 86, some twenty-five years after leaving academic mathematics and retreating into a spiritual seclusion in the countryside. "As if summoned from the void," a two-part account of Grothendieck's life, from the Notices of the American Math Society: part I, part II. [more inside]
posted by escabeche on Nov 13, 2014 - 33 comments

The Foehr Reef

The Foehr Reef is part of the worldwide Crochet Coral Reef Project. It was made by over 700 women and combines more than 4000 individual pieces of marine wonder. A short video shows its beauty [alternating English and German audio]. PDFs with pictures. "The Crochet Coral Reef is a woolly celebration of the intersection of higher geometry and feminine handicraft, and a testimony to the disappearing wonders of the marine world." It originated out of a desire to increase awareness of environmental threats to the world's reefs and is a conjunction of art, environmentalism, and geometry. [more inside]
posted by travelwithcats on Aug 10, 2014 - 7 comments

musical mathematical journeys

Trio for Three Angles (1968) is one of many beautiful acclaimed visually-oriented short films with music by mathematical filmmakers Bruce and Katharine Cornwell, some animated by hand and some using early digital technology. It inspired three sequels: Similar Triangles (1975), Congruent Triangles (1976), and Journey to the Center of a Triangle (1978) (previously). [more inside]
posted by beryllium on Jul 6, 2014 - 5 comments

"I really like polyhedra."

Polyhedra and the Media - On the new polyhedra of Schein and Gayed, and mathematical journalism.
posted by Wolfdog on Mar 11, 2014 - 20 comments


Geogebra is an interactive geometry tool which started as a free clone of Geometer's Sketchpad, but is now also an algebra, statistics and calculus tool. It is available for download for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android, or as a web app. [more inside]
posted by Elementary Penguin on Feb 22, 2014 - 10 comments

Visual Patterns.

Visual Patterns. Here are the first few steps. What's the equation?
posted by Wolfdog on Feb 18, 2014 - 19 comments

The Hierarchy of Hexagons

The Hierarchy of Hexagons. School geometry seems to me one of the most lifeless topics in all of mathematics. And the worst of all? The hierarchy of quadrilaterals.
posted by Wolfdog on Feb 11, 2014 - 36 comments

math into art, hypnotizing and kaledscopic

The Geometric Artwork of Andy Gilmore [more inside]
posted by moonmilk on Sep 18, 2013 - 4 comments

Triple Gear

Mathematicians Henry Segerman and Saul Schleimer have produced a triple gear, three linked gears in space that can rotate together. A short writeup of the topology and geometry behind the triple gear on the arXiv.
posted by escabeche on Apr 26, 2013 - 36 comments

William Thurston

"The real satisfaction from mathematics is in learning from others and sharing with others." William Thurston, one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century, has died. He revolutionized topology and geometry, insisting always that geometric intuition and understanding played just as important a role in mathematical discovery as did the austere formalism championed by the school of Grothendieck. Thurston's views on the relation between mathematical understanding and formal proof are summed up in his essay "On Proof and Progress in Mathematics." [more inside]
posted by escabeche on Aug 22, 2012 - 32 comments

Morpion Solitaire

Morpion Solitaire is a very simple pencil-and-paper, line-drawing game for which the best possible score is not known! New records are still being set.
posted by Wolfdog on Jan 8, 2012 - 21 comments

Wheels within wheels

The best known packings of equal circles within a circle. Best packings with 1-12 circles. Best packings with 49-60 circles. Best packings with 1093-1104 circles. Also, circles whose areas form a harmonic series. Circles in an isosceles right triangle. Or generate your own circle packings. (Background for beginners: circle packing. Background for experts: circle packing.)
posted by escabeche on Oct 19, 2011 - 29 comments

Growing a hyperdodecahedron

This short computer graphics animation presents the regular 120-cell: a four dimensional polytope composed of 120 dodecahedra and also known as the hyperdodecahedron or hecatonicosachoron. [more inside]
posted by Wolfdog on Aug 2, 2011 - 29 comments


Snowdecahedron. When life hands you a blizzard, make a Platonic solid. "Temporary public art" from Dan Sternof Beyer.
posted by escabeche on Feb 3, 2011 - 58 comments

Never tell me the odds.

Measure-theoretic probability: Why it should be learnt and how to get started. The clickable chart of distribution relationships. Just two of the interesting and informative probability resources I've learned about, along with countless other tidbits of information, from statistician John D. Cook's blog and his probability fact-of-the-day Twitter feed ProbFact. John also has daily tip and fact Twitter feeds for Windows keyboard shortcuts, regular expressions, TeX and LaTeX, algebra and number theory, topology and geometry, real and complex analysis, and beginning tomorrow, computer science and statistics.
posted by grouse on Dec 5, 2010 - 17 comments

Explorations of a Recreational Mathematician

Let's say you're me and you're in math class, and you're supposed to be learning about factoring. Trouble is, your teacher is too busy trying to convince you that factoring is a useful skill for the average person to know with real-world applications ranging from passing your state exams all the way to getting a higher SAT score and unfortunately does not have the time to show you why factoring is actually interesting. It's perfectly reasonable for you to get bored in this situation. So like any reasonable person, you start doodling. [more inside]
posted by ErWenn on Dec 3, 2010 - 27 comments

Topology on the Runway

There's always been hyperbole in fashion; but fashion became truly hyperbolic this week when mathematican William Thurston, winner of a 1982 Fields Medal for his revolutionary re-envisioning of low-dimensional topology and geometry, teamed up with designer Dai Fujiwara (of the house of Issey Miyake) to produce a Paris runway show based on the fundamental geometries of 3-dimensional spaces. Thurston and Fujiwara briefly interviewed. Thurston's famous essay "Proof and Progress in Mathematics" concerns, among other things, Thurston's belief that the production of mathematical understanding can be carried out by means other than the writing down of formal proofs (though fashion shows are not specifically mentioned.) Previously in wearable non-Euclidean geometry: Daina Taimina's hyperbolic skirt.
posted by escabeche on Mar 8, 2010 - 19 comments

Raise Thumb. Close One Eye. Squint.

The eyeballing game: compare your best attempts at several instinctive everyday tasks - determining a point of convergence, bisecting an angle, finding the midpoint of a line - against mathematical certainty. In a more financial mood? Play Chartgame: given a random historical stock chart of an unnamed S&P 500 company, choose to buy and sell as time advances to see if you can beat the market.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Oct 14, 2009 - 22 comments

Math Geekery

For math geeks. How to Draw the Voronoi Diagram. Voronoi diagrams, as a geometric model are fascinating because they can be used to describe almost literally everything: from cell phone networks to radiolaria, at every scale: from quantum foam to cosmic foam. See also the Wallpaper Group: there are only 17 ways to fill a plane with a regular 2 dimensional pattern. Fred Scharmen [weblog home] is known as 765 and also produces a number of shapes, textures and patterns.
posted by netbros on Sep 16, 2009 - 35 comments

Pi(es) in a field

A new crop circle formation in Wiltshire depicts the first 10 digits of pi. [more inside]
posted by casarkos on Jun 20, 2008 - 96 comments

A Woolen Reef

The hyperbolic crochet coral reef has come to London. [more inside]
posted by chuckdarwin on Jun 17, 2008 - 14 comments

The Geometry of Music

The connection between mathematics and music is often touted in awed, mysterious tones, but it is grounded in hard-headed science. For example, mathematical principles underlie the organization of Western music into 12-note scales. And even a beginning piano student encounters geometry in the "circle of fifths" when learning the fundamentals of music theory. ...according to Dmitri Tymoczko, a composer and music theorist at Princeton University, these well-known connections reveal only a few threads of the hefty rope that binds music and math.
The Geometry of Music
See also The Geometry of Musical Chords - Dmitri Tymoczko, Science 7 July 2006: Abstract
See also Dmitri Tymoczko, Composer and Music Theoristvia [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Mar 16, 2008 - 29 comments

A Visual Dictionary of Famous Plane Curves

A Visual Dictionary of Famous Plane Curves is an outstanding resource for curves found in nature, man-made objects, and mathematics. Other websites that list exotically named curves also animate how they are created. One of the most unusually named curves, the “Witch of Agnesi”, has an unusual etymology. A number of these curves will be familiar to anyone who has used a Spirograph. Previously.
posted by Tube on Jan 19, 2008 - 13 comments

Cut The Knot

Interactive mathematics miscellany and puzzles, including 75 proofs of the Pythagorean Theorem, an interactive column using Java applets, and eye-opening demonstrations. (Actually, much more.)
posted by parudox on Dec 1, 2007 - 11 comments

...the models live in the curved space of the hypersphere...

Here are some beautifully rendered views of polytopes, and a few more. The rendering program, Jenn 3D, is free and downloadable, (OS X, Linux, Win) and includes some really dazzling fly-about and camera effects as well as tons of high-dimensional models to explore. There's also a mind-boggling possibility of playing Go on boards in projective space. Via the Math Paint blog, which leads to other interesting places...
posted by Wolfdog on Jun 2, 2007 - 13 comments

Math is congruent with fun!

You have spacial skills. Apply them in Building Houses 2, on mathsnet.net. Or freestyle in Building Houses 1. Or at night! Oh and also there's like a hundred more puzzles over there too. Some java required.
posted by cortex on Apr 12, 2007 - 66 comments

Golden Ratios

Did the roof of the Pantheon influence Copernicus? Are the planets of the solar system aligned in accordance with a nearly-forgotten hypothesis known (unfairly) as Bode's Law? A fascinating wide-ranging discussion on BLDGBLOG with Walter Murch, the visionary editor and sound designer for such films as The Conversation, Apocalypse Now, The English Patient, THX1138, and many others. [Murch's film work has previously been discussed here and here.]
posted by digaman on Apr 7, 2007 - 20 comments

crocheted hyperbolic flora and fauna

The Institute for Figuring presents the Crocheted Hyperbolic Coral Reef Project and Hyperbolic Crocheted Cacti and Kelp (more at this flickr gallery). If you secretly spend your evenings crocheting mathematical models, help build the coral reef or send a photo of your other creations to The People's Hyperbolic Gallery. (via Wonderland)
posted by madamjujujive on Sep 15, 2006 - 11 comments

Math You Don't Know, and Math You Didn't Know You Didn't Know.

Jim Loy's Mathematics Page is (among other things) a collection of interesting theorems (like Napoleon's Triangle theorem), thoughtful discussions of both simple and complex math, and geometric constructions (my personal favorite); the latter of which contains surprisingly-complex discussions on the trisection of angles, or the drawing of regular pentagons.

Similarly enthralling are the pages on Billiards (and the physics of), Astronomy (and the savants of), and Physics (and the Phlogiston Theory of), all of which are rife with illustrations and diagrams. See the homepage for much more.

If you like your geometric constructions big, try Zef Damen's Crop Circle Reconstructions.
posted by odinsdream on Sep 14, 2005 - 8 comments

Just filling space

The Spidron is an interesting geometric construction that seems to lend itself to folding, dissection, and space-filling in two and three dimensions.
posted by Wolfdog on Jul 17, 2005 - 9 comments

Fun With Geometry

The Geometry Center at the University of Minnesota, while now closed, maintains an awesome website with tons of math resources. I like sphere eversion, i.e. turning a sphere inside out. Link is to script of video, which explains things pretty well. Here is a clip [QT]. Also good: notes from a class on geometry and the imagination that John Conway and some friends gave awhile back. Old but good.
posted by mai on Mar 1, 2005 - 3 comments

Geek humor at its best

The House With Too Many Perpundiculars
posted by DevilsAdvocate on Jul 13, 2004 - 8 comments

After getting the inside story (ha?) on the inventor of everyone's favorite non-orientable surface, the Klein Bottle; and perhaps playing a few games inside of one, you can check out a few 3-dimensional immersions of klein bottles: in Lego, knitted fabric, paper, or glass.
posted by kidsplateusa on Oct 30, 2000 - 5 comments

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