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Math ImageryThe connection between mathematics and art goes back thousands of years. Mathematics has been used in the design of Gothic cathedrals, Rose windows, oriental rugs, mosaics and tilings. Geometric forms were fundamental to the cubists and many abstract expressionists, and award-winning sculptors have used topology as the basis for their pieces. Dutch artist M.C. Escher represented infinity, Möbius bands, tessellations, deformations, reflections, Platonic solids, spirals, symmetry, and the hyperbolic plane in his works.

Mathematicians and artists continue to create stunning works in all media and to explore the visualization of mathematics--origami, computer-generated landscapes, tesselations, fractals, anamorphic art, and more.

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Home > Lipson's Lego Sculptures

Last additions - Lipson's Lego Sculptures
lipson-scherk.jpg
"Scherk's First Surface," copyright Andrew Lipson. Made of Lego®This is a nice example of a saddle point. The model shows (most of) one cell of a doubly-periodic Scherk surface. Actually Scherk discovered more than one minimal surface in 1835, but this one has the particularly simple parametrisation given by exp(z) = cos(x)/cos(y). This model shows the surface in the region |x|, |y| < p/2 - 0.01. As with most of my mathematical surfaces, I made use of some computer assistance. On my website you can find more pictures and an LDRAW .DAT file generated by my program for this sculpture. Beware--the .DAT file builds it out of 1x1 bricks. Actually constructing this out of larger bricks so that it holds together is a (non-trivial) exercise! Lego ® is a trademark of The Lego Group. --- Andrew Lipson (http://www.andrewlipson.com/mathlego.htm)Feb 06, 2012
lipson-relativity.jpg
"Escher's 'Relativity'," copyright Andrew Lipson. Made of Lego ®Daniel Shiu and I worked on this as a joint project. There are no camera tricks, but the picture has to be taken from exactly the right place, and that was a challenge in itself. Unlike many of Escher's other "impossible" pictures (like "Ascending and Descending"), there is actually no optical illusion involved here. Gravity seems to be working in three different directions simultaneously, but the picture shows a perfectly self-consistent physical scene. So modelling it should certainly be feasible. But while Escher's picture has three different "up"s, Lego® isn't quite so flexible. See photos of the construction in progress. Lego® is a trademark of The Lego Group. On my website I post images of M.C. Escher's original works (C) Cordon Art, Baarn, the Netherlands on his website, used with permission, so that you may compare with the Lego® creations. All rights reserved. --- Andrew Lipson (http://www.andrewlipson.com/mathlego.htm)Feb 06, 2012
lipson-figeight.jpg
"Figure eight knot," copyright Andrew Lipson. Made of Lego ®I think this is the most difficult single construction I have ever made out of Lego®. Those long sweeping curves, hanging unsupported in space... It's only when you get about 2/3 of the way up that you start to discover exactly which bits 1/3 of the way up aren't strong enough. And there are never enough 1x3 bricks... But I didn't cheat anywhere. The figure-eight knot has a nice tetrahedral skew-symmetry which the model illustrates quite well. On my website you can find more pictures and an LDRAW .DAT file generated by my program for this sculpture. Beware--the .DAT file builds it out of 1x1 bricks. Actually constructing this out of larger bricks so that it holds together is a (non-trivial) exercise! Lego® is a trademark of The Lego Group. --- Andrew Lipson (http://www.andrewlipson.com/mathlego.htm)Feb 06, 2012
lipson-belvedere.jpg
"Escher's 'Belvedere'," copyright Andrew Lipson. Made of Lego ®Daniel Shiu and I worked on this as a joint project. We discovered a few nasty surprises that Escher had hidden in the picture (other than the obvious one). And we had to get the camera position just right for the picture to come out OK. The domes on top, and the slightly protruding cell wall at the near end of the bottom level, were both interesting exercises in half-brick spacing, and many of those useful 1x2 plate offset bricks with the single stud on top were used. We took a small liberty with the guy in the red hat at the bottom of the picture. In Escher's original, he's holding an "impossible cube", but in our version he's holding an impossible Lego® square. Well, OK, not quite impossible if you've got a decent pair of pliers (ouch). See photos of the construction in progress . Lego® is a trademark of The Lego Group. On my website I post images of M.C. Escher's original works (C) Cordon Art, Baarn, the Netherlands on his website, used with permission, so that you may compare with the Lego® creations. All rights reserved. --- Andrew Lipson (http://www.andrewlipson.com/mathlego.htm)Feb 06, 2012
lipson-ascending.jpg
"Escher's 'Ascending and Descending'," copyright Andrew Lipson. Made of Lego ®Daniel Shiu and I worked on this as a joint project. There are no camera tricks, but the picture has to be taken from exactly the right place, and the final photograph was slightly distorted to emphasize the perspective effect. I'm especially pleased with the way the roof in the top left of the picture came out. See photos of the construction in progress. Lego® is a trademark of The Lego Group. On my website I post images of M.C. Escher's original works (C) Cordon Art, Baarn, the Netherlands on his website, used with permission, so that you may compare with the Lego® creations. All rights reserved. --- Andrew Lipson (http://www.andrewlipson.com/mathlego.htm)Feb 06, 2012
 
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