Home > Website of the Week Archive Detail

<< Prev 4/26/2009 Next >>

Math Art With a Twist of Surprise

As mentioned last week, mathematics is cold and austere to some, which is why the reviewed website tried to connect mathematics with the non-visual art of poetry. This week, the connection is to visual arts.

The web site of Rinus Roelofs offers visual delights that both capitalize on and illustrate mathematical themes. With educational backgrounds in both applied mathemathics and sculpture, the Dutch Roelofs has been creating and erecting major sculptures in the Netherlands and throughout the world.

To contemplate and enjoy the great number of examples offered, you need to explore the different sub-sections of the web site thoroughly. Make sure you see the following:

  • 166 sculpture-like animations
  • 30 installed sculptures
  • 33 structures, some like tensigrities
  • 104 "rhinoceros" with themes that range from polyhedra to mobius bands to tensigrities to...
  • Lists of projects, which tie-in with the previous examples
With the different animations, I suggest you try to guess what will happen once the object in the picture is set in motion. For the record, I was usually wrong with my guess, meaning many surprises occurred.

Also, spend time with students trying to determine the mathematics underlying the various examples. You should find a great amount of geometry, topology, number theory, etc....along with some interesting physics.