The 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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Professor Tom HullTom Hull took his Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Rhode Island in 1997. His dissertation was on list coloring bipartite graphs, now he mostly studies the mathematics of origami (paper folding).

Tom Hull is an associate professor in the Department of Mathematics at Merrimack College in North Andover, MA.

Spiked Rhombic EnneacontahedronThis structure was conceived by taking a 90-sided polyhedron, whose faces are made from two types of rhombi, and placing a pyramid on each face. The construction uses 180 small squares of paper, all folded and interlocked together without glue. See more models on the Origami Gallery.

--- Thomas Hull. Photograph by Nancy Rose Marshall.

Nested Hexogonal CollapseThis model is a series of concentric hexagons with "zig-zag" creases coming from the center-most hexagon out to the midpoints of the paper's sides. It can be collapsed in many different ways and twisted into interesting shapes, as done here. See more geometrics and tesselations on the Origami Gallery.

--- Thomas Hull. Photograph by Nancy Rose Marshall.

"Kissing in Motion""Kissing in Motion" shows the motion of the "shadows" of kissing spheres in a deformation pointed out by J.H. Conway and N.J.A. Sloane, following an observation of H.S.M. Coxeter. The sequence is left-right, right-left, left-right (sometimes called boustrophedon). The image accompanies "Kissing Numbers, Sphere Packings, and Some Unexpected Proofs," by Florian Pfender and Günter M. Ziegler (Notices of the American Mathematical Society, September 2004, p. 873).

--- Bill Casselman

Coxeter groupsThis image illustrates two types of infinite Coxeter groups and algorithms involved in computation within those groups: one which generates elements of the group one by one, the "Shortlex automaton," and others, more conjectural, which seem to describe the Kazhdan-Lusztig cells of an arbitrary Coxeter group.

The illustration is described in detail and was created to accompany the article "Cells in Coxeter Groups," by Paul E. Gunnells (Notices of the American Mathematical Society, May 2006, p. 528). The explicit finite state machines required to draw the Kazhdan-Lusztig cells were supplied by Gunnells.

--- Bill Casselman

Dyadic icosahedraThis image exhibits fanciful renderings of the dyadic icosahedra discussed in the article "The p-adic Icosahedron," by Gunther Cornelissen and Fumiharu Kato (Notices of the American Mathematical Society, August 2005, p. 720).

--- Bill Casselman

Hilbert's Square-Filling Curve"Hilbert's Square-Filling Curve" by The
3DXM Consortium

In 1890 David Hilbert published a construction of a continuous curve whose image completely fills a square, which was a significant contribution to the understanding of continuity. Although it might be considered to be a pathological example, today, Hilbert's curve has become well-known for a very different reason---every computer science student learns about it because the algorithm has proved useful in image compression. See more fractal curves on the 3D-XplorMath Gallery.

--- adapted from "About Hilbert's Square Filling Curve" by Hermann Karcher

Mandelbrot SetA striking aspect of this image is its self-similarity: Parts of the set look very similar to larger parts of the set, or to the entire set itself. The boundary of the Mandelbrot Set is an example of a fractal, a name derived from the fact that the dimensions of such sets need not be integers like two or three, but can be fractions like 4/3. See more at the 3D-XplorMath Fractal Gallery.

--- Richard Palais (Univ. of California at Irvine, Irvine, CA)

symmetry3.jpg"Symmetry Energy Image III," by Rob Scharein (Centre for Experimental and Constructive Mathematics, Simon Fraser University, B.C., Canada)

This example illustrates the SE rendering mode in KnotPlot, which visualizes the symmetric energy distribution. KnotPlot is a program to visualize and manipulate mathematical knots in three and four dimensions, and the website includes a wealth of resources and pictures. This picture is a direct screen capture from KnotPlot, rendered entirely in OpenGL, an environment for portable, interactive graphics applications.

--- Rob Scharein

symmetry2.jpg"Symmetry Energy Image II," by Rob Scharein (Centre for Experimental and Constructive Mathematics, Simon Fraser University, B.C., Canada)

This example illustrates the SE rendering mode in KnotPlot, which visualizes the symmetric energy distribution. KnotPlot is a program to visualize and manipulate mathematical knots in three and four dimensions, and the website includes a wealth of resources and pictures. This picture is a direct screen capture from KnotPlot, rendered entirely in OpenGL, an environment for portable, interactive graphics applications.

--- Rob Scharein

ashley.jpg"Ashley Knot," by by Rob Scharein (Centre for Experimental and Constructive
Mathematics, Simon Fraser University, B.C., Canada)

This example illustrates the SE rendering mode in KnotPlot, which visualizes the symmetric energy distribution. KnotPlot is a program to visualize and manipulate mathematical knots in three and four dimensions, and the website includes a wealth of resources and pictures. This picture is a direct screen capture from KnotPlot, rendered entirely in OpenGL, an environment for portable, interactive graphics applications.

--- Rob Scharein

"Frabjous," by George W. Hart (www.georgehart.com)This is an 11-inch diameter sculpture made of laser-cut wood (aspen). It is assembled from thirty identical pieces. Each is an elongated S-shaped form, with two openings. The aspen is quite light in color but the laser-cut edges are a rich contrasting brown. The openings add nicely to the whirling effect. The appearance is very different as one moves around it. This is an image of how it appears looking straight down one of the vortices. The word "frabjous" comes, of course, from "The Jabberwocky" of Lewis Carroll. "O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!" --- George W. Hart (www.georgehart.com)

"72 Pencils," by George W. Hart (www.georgehart.com)"72 Pencils" is a geometric construction of 72 pencils, assembled into a work of art. The form is an arrangement of four intersecting hexagonal tubes that penetrate each other in a fascinating three-dimensional lattice. For some viewers, part of the interest lies in the form of the interior. The four hexagonal tubes are hollow, so the sculpture as a whole is hollow. But, what shape is its cavity? What would someone on the inside see? To the mathematician, the answer is "the rhombic dodecahedron," a geometric solid bounded by twelve rhombuses. See two other views, showing how it looks along various axes of symmetry, at www.georgehart.comwww.georgehart.com. --- George W. Hart (www.georgehart.com)

"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)

"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)