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.

"Inverse Stereo," by Chaim Goodman-Strauss, University of Arkansas (http://mathbun.com/main.php)1487 viewsThe pattern on this sphere is not a spherical pattern—that is, its symmetry is not a symmetry of the sphere itself. Symmetry is as much as anything a topological property; the pattern on the sphere is in fact a symmetry of the Euclidean plane, as shown by projecting it down to the plane below. Only seventeen types of symmetrical pattern can cover the Euclidean plane; this one has type 4*2. This image is on the cover of "The Symmetries of Things", by John H. Conway, Heidi Burgiel and Chaim Goodman-Strauss (AK Peters, 2008).

"Kaleidospheres," by Chaim Goodman-Strauss, University of Arkansas (http://mathbun.com/main.php)1308 viewsThere are five types of kaleidoscopic symmetry on the sphere (two of which are infinite families). Four are shown here: *532, *432, *332, and *22N. It is quite amusing to make real, physical kaleidoscopes that produce images like these.

"Shells 532," by Chaim Goodman-Strauss, University of Arkansas (http://mathbun.com/main.php)1288 viewsThere are seven infinite families, and seven more individual types of discrete symmetrical patterns on the sphere. A pattern of type 532 is shown; there are three kinds of gyration points in the pattern--a 5-fold, a 3-fold, and a 2-fold gyration point are marked. This image is from "The Symmetries of Things", by John H. Conway, Heidi Burgiel and Chaim Goodman-Strauss (AK Peters, 2008).

"Prime colorings of the sphere, Euclidean plane and the hyperbolic plane," by Chaim Goodman-Strauss, University of Arkansas (http://mathbun.com/main.php)1275 viewsTilings of the sphere, the Euclidean plane and the hyperbolic plane are shown. In each case, we have triangular faces, but on the sphere, the triangles meet in fives; in the Euclidean plane, the triangles meet in sixes, and in the hyperbolic plane, they meet in sevens. To a great degree, this is forced. It is impossible, for example, to have a tiling of the sphere with triangles meeting only in sevens (try it!).

In each case, a prime-fold coloring of the pattern is shown. It is helpful to realize that there are more similarities than differences among the three geometries.

The symmetry of the hyperbolic plane pictured above was known to Felix Klein by 1878, and has a tremendous number of interesting topological, geometric and algebraic properties.

This image is from "The Symmetries of Things"� by John H. Conway, Heidi Burgiel and Chaim Goodman-Strauss (AK Peters, 2008).

"Dodecafoam I," by Chaim Goodman-Strauss, University of Arkansas (http://mathbun.com/main.php)1208 viewsUnlike all of the other images in this collection, the symmetry here is not governed by a group action, but rather by a substitution system--a set of replacement rules, based on the stellations of the dodecahedron. Several oddly shaped three-dimensional cells based on the stellations of the dodecahedron are used; a rule then gives a method for dividing each cell into small copies of the others. Such techniques are commonly used to produce highly ordered non-periodic structures; though it may look as if such a structure repeats, in fact it cannot repeat periodically.

"Calla Lily 32 infinity," by Chaim Goodman-Strauss, University of Arkansas (http://mathbun.com/main.php)1205 viewsThe group SL_2(Z) acts on the hyperbolic plane discretely, producing patterns of symmetry type 23 infinity, such as the one shown here. Similarly, the 2-fold cover GL_2(Z) acts with symmetry type *23 infinity. This image is from "The Symmetries of Things", by John H. Conway, Heidi Burgiel and Chaim Goodman-Strauss (AK Peters, 2008).

"Tube *X," by Chaim Goodman-Strauss, University of Arkansas (http://mathbun.com/main.php)1186 viewsThis strange image is just of a distorted but perfectly sensible regular pattern in the Euclidean plane, of type *X. A complicated image like this can be built from simple steps, and can be expressed in just a single formula; the colors of the initial pattern are from the values of
f(x,y) = |cos(x - cos(y+a))cos(y - cos(x+a))|, with
a = pi/5. --- Chaim Goodman-Strauss

"The Hexacosm," by Chaim Goodman-Strauss, University of Arkansas (http://mathbun.com/main.php)1157 viewsThis spaceship is flying about in the universal cover of the hexacosm, one of the ten, closed, flat three-manifolds. Equivalently, the pattern is one of the ten discrete co-compact symmetry types of Euclidean space that does not have any fixed points. The type here is (6_1 3_1 2_1) in the Thurston-Conway fibrefold notation. This image is from "The Symmetries of Things", by John H. Conway, Heidi Burgiel and Chaim Goodman-Strauss (AK Peters, 2008).

"Morning Glories 4_2 : 2," by Chaim Goodman-Strauss, University of Arkansas (http://mathbun.com/main.php)1093 viewsIn addition to the thirty-five "prime", discrete symmetry types of three-dimensional Euclidean space, there are 184 "composite", types; these each can be projected down an axis to produce one of the 17 discrete symmetry types of the plane. This pattern in space, for example, with type 4_2 : 2, is a kind of attenuated planar pattern with type 4 * 2. This image is from "The Symmetries of Things", by John H. Conway, Heidi Burgiel and Chaim Goodman-Strauss (AK Peters, 2008).