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.

Explore the world of mathematics and art, share an e-postcard, and bookmark this page to see new featured works..

Home > Seifert Surfaces
Click to view full size image

"(1,3,5) Pretzel Knot," by Jarke J. van Wijk (Technische Universiteit Eindhoven). Image courtesy of Jarke J. van Wijk.

The yellow tube is a (1, 3, 5) pretzel knot. Such a pretzel knot or link consists of a sequence of angles, where each tangle has a number of twists. The brown surface is a Seifert surface: an orientable surface bounded by the knot. Here the surface is easy to understand; for arbitrary knots such surfaces often have strange and difficult shapes. However, for any knot or link such surfaces can be found, as shown by Herbert Seifert in the 1930's. This image was made with a tool called SeifertView.

--- Jarke J. van Wijk

ams_AA3A5.jpg ams_borro.jpg ams_p222.jpg

American Mathematical Society