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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"Sierpinski Sieve," a pancake by Nathan Shields ( Sierpinski triangle is a fractal, a structure that displays self-similarity at various scales. This fractal is created by recursively removing triangular pieces from the structure indefinitely - of course, the pancake isn't very hearty if you really do this, but you get the idea. To see about making your own fractal pancakes, as well as other topics I find interesting as a math teacher, check out my blog. --- Nathan Shields (

Jun 14, 2012
"Pythagorean Tree," a pancake by Nathan Shields ( fractal, like many others, is fun to doodle at faculty meetings. Here, each triple of touching squares encloses a right triangle in a traditional visualization of the Pythagorean Theorem. To see about making your own fractal pancakes, as well as other topics I find interesting as a math teacher, check out my blog. --- Nathan Shields ( 14, 2012
"Mandelbrot Set," a pancake by Nathan Shields ( Mandelbrot Set, which is one of the tastiest fractals, is the collection of points c on the complex plane which allow the iterated transformation z = z² + c to remain within a given threshold. I've always been awestruck by the infinite complexity that springs from that simple equation. To see about making your own fractal pancakes, as well as other topics I find interesting as a math teacher, check out my blog. --- Nathan Shields ( 14, 2012
"Lorenz Attractor," a pancake by Nathan Shields ( Lorenz attractor comes from a system of three differential equations created to model convection in the atmosphere, and frequently used to show the sensitivity of a chaotic system to initial conditions. For another chaotic system, invite your kids to help design the pancakes. To see about making your own fractal pancakes, as well as other topics I find interesting as a math teacher, check out my blog. --- Nathan Shields ( 14, 2012
"Tsunami Memorial," by Simon BeckPattern made in snow with snowshoes.

The design(s) are a 5 pointed version of the 'snowflake curve' named by the German mathematician Von Koch. A lot of the inspiration for the snow art comes from the gardens in the temples in Kyoto, where sand is raked in patterns that are the closest thing I have seen elsewhere to the effect I achieve with snow. This work, created on the reservoir at Arc2000, took somewhere between 10 and 15 hours, and was completed in March 2012. On my Facebook there is an incomplete version of this photo that shows the skeleton of the smaller 5-pointed figures, that shows how this has been done. --- Simon Beck (
May 21, 2012
"Snow Pattern #5 at ARC 2000," by Simon BeckPattern made in snow with snowshoes.

The attempt at the 3D effect has been reasonably successful except where I ran out of reasonably flat snow! These bluish pictures have been processed in Photoshop and distorted to improve the proportions. This was done with Roberto Lebel at ARC 2000, a ski area in France. --- Simon Beck (
May 21, 2012
"Sierpinski Triangle," by Simon BeckPattern made in snow with snowshoes.

This work is a variation on a Sierpinski Triangle. The S Triangle is a simple iterative process. Start with the largest triangle, find the midpoints of each edge, draw another triangle linking the midpoints, resulting in 4 triangles, then leave the middle triangle alone and repeat the process on the 3 other triangles. --- Simon Beck (
May 21, 2012
"Circles 16 at Arc2000 Lakes 2012," by Simon BeckPattern made in snow with snowshoes.

This was done using the faintly visible ghost of an earlier design on the same site. Enough was visible despite recent snow fall for me to be able to find the corners of the roughly triangular figures without having to do any surveying. One person likened this image to a crocheted doily, another to a crop circle. This was done in 2012 at ARC 2000 is a ski area in France. --- Simon Beck (
May 21, 2012
"3D Koch at Arc2000," by Simon BeckPattern made in snow with snowshoes.

This is from my Facebook album titled Reinterpretations. This means the photos have been modified using the well-known program by Adobe. In general I shrink the horizontal dimension, darken the highlights a little, increase the contrast, shift the blue/red balance towards the blue, and increase the colour saturation. The grid of hexagons was surveyed working outwards from the centre, then the fractal exterior was added. --- Simon Beck (
May 21, 2012
"Hyperbolic Coasters," by Mikael Vejdemo-Johansson (University of St. Andrews, Scotland)Laser-etched glass, 14 items, 12cm diameter each, 2011

The advent of accessible automated tools opens up a number of new approaches to art: especially algorithmic and mathematical art works. The computational control allows us to write algorithms to generate concrete physical art; and their precision allows a higher resolution than what the eye can discern. These pieces highlighting and reifying different mathematical concepts, giving them physical presence and accessibility and turning abstract geometry into hands-on displays and objects. Among the most successful of the reified mathematics art-pieces I produced where these--hyperbolic disk tilings with the Poincare disk model were etched onto glass disks, producing a collection of reified hyperbolic geometries and symmetries. --- Mikael Vejdemo-Johansson (University of St. Andrews, Scotland,
May 14, 2012
"Great Ball of Fire," by Eve Torrence (Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, VA)Craft Foam, 2010

I love the symmetric beauty of polyhedra and enjoy creating models to study. Through the process of building a model I am able to truly understand its form. I like to use color to help reveal the structure and patterns of an object. This sculpture is based on the third stellation of the dodecahedron. A stellation of a regular polyhedron is formed by extending the faces until they intersect and enclose a region of space. The faces of the dodecahedron will intersect three times as they are extended, forming the small stellated dodecahedron, the great dodecahdron, and the great stellated dodecahedron. Twelve identical pieces of craft foam were slotted at the edge of each stellation and then tightly woven. This open skeleton allows one to follow each face to view the intersections and the outline of the dodecahedron and the three stellations. Six colors of foam are used and parallel faces are the same color. Each of the five arms of each face intersects three others to form 20 colorful "flames" in an icosahedral arrangement. --- Eve Torrence (Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, VA)
May 14, 2012
"Lisbon Oriente Station," by Bruce Torrence (Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, VA)Panoramic Photograph, 2011

I've been exploring recent developments in digital imagery which allow me to utilize mathematics and computer programming to solve visual problems. This is a projection made from a panorama of 13 photographs. The individual photos were shot from precisely the same point in space, and when stitched together they comprise the entire "viewable sphere" centered at that vantage point. That is, the panorama has complete coverage of the scene---360 degrees around, and 180 degrees from top to bottom. Stereographic projection was then applied to the spherical panorama, with the projection taken from the North Pole so that the point directly overhead becomes the point at infinity. This produces a lovely "little planet" effect, with the geometry of the roof structure framing the scene. The panorama was shot at Oriente Station in Lisbon, Portugal. --- Bruce Torrence (Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, VA,,

May 14, 2012
"101-smooth numbers," by Graeme Taylor (University of Bristol, UK)Print from digital, 2011

'The smoothness spiral' is an interactive applet (see that plots the first 10,000 integers on an Archimedean spiral. Each point has a brightness depending on its number-theoretic smoothness (its largest prime divisor), controlled by a user-selected threshold. Curves of smooth numbers emerge, whilst large primes are conspicuous by their absence, causing 'missing' curves. This print from 'the smoothness spiral'; the threshold is set to show values which are at most 101-smooth, with brightness proportional to smoothness. --- Graeme Taylor (University of Bristol, UK,
May 14, 2012
"Spring," by Jeff Suzuki and Jacqui Burke (Brooklyn, NY)24" x 36", quilt, 2011

Our quilts are based on "Rule 30" (in Wolfram's classification of elementary cellular automata), applied to a cylindrical phase space. "Winter" is the basic rule 30 to produce a two-color pattern. The successive patterns combine the history of two ("Spring"), three ("Summer), or four ("Fall") generations to produce a palette of four, eight, or sixteen colors. In this quilt, "Spring", the colors are determined by the history of a cell at times t = 2k and 2k + 1, treated as a two-bit number between 0 and 3. --- Jeff Suzuki and Jacqui Burke (Brooklyn College, NY,
May 14, 2012
"Lawson's Minimum-Energy Klein Bottle," by Carlo Séquin (University of California, Berkeley)9" x 6" x 4.5", FDM model, 2011
Third Place Award, 2012 Mathematical Art Exhibition

My professional work in computer graphics and geometric design has also provided a bridge to the world of art. This is a gridded model of a Klein bottle (Euler characteristic 0, genus 2) with the minimal possible total surface bending energy. This energy is calculated as the surface integral over mean curvature squared. --- Carlo Séquin (University of California, Berkeley, CA,
May 14, 2012
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American Mathematical Society