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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"Magneto-2," by Reza Ali (Palo Alto, CA)1991 views18" by 24" print, 2011

This image is a snap-shot from a real-time interactive particle simulation using Lorentz's Law to define each particle's movements. The color palette, perspective, magnetic field placement, and rendering style were designed by the artist. Physics and mathematics define the piece's motion and overall pattern formation. --- Reza Ali (Palo Alto, CA, http://www.syedrezaali.com/)
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"Lilacs--an Imaginary Inflorescence," by Anne M. Burns (Long Island University, Brookville, NY)1971 views"Inflorescence" is the arrangement of flowers, or the mode of flowering, on a plant--sometimes simple and easily distinguishable, sometimes very complex. "Lilacs" is an example of an imaginary inflorescence that I have created using computer graphics techniques. Two Java applets allow users to see and draw purely imaginary inflorescences at various stages using the recursive (repeatedly applied) functions. Download the code from either applet, and see photographs of real inflorescences several imaginary inflorescences, at http://myweb.cwpost.liu.edu/aburns/inflores/inflores.htm. --- Anne M. Burns (Long Island University, Brookville, NY)
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Hamid Naderi Yeganeh, "1,000 Line Segments (2)" (August 2014)1966 viewsThis image shows 1,000 line segments. For each i=1,2,3,...,1000 the endpoints of the i-th line segment are: (-sin(4πi/1000), -cos(2πi/1000)) and ((-1/2)sin(8πi/1000), (-1/2)cos(4πi/1000)). I created this image by running my program on a Linux operating system. --- Hamid Naderi Yeganeh
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"Overlapping Circles I," by Anne Burns, Long Island University, Brookville, NY (2008)1934 viewsDigital print, 13" x 12". "This is an iterated function system made up of Mobius Transformations, programmed in ActionScript. I began my studies as an art major; later I switched to mathematics. In the 1980's I bought my first computer and found that I loved programming and could combine my all of my interests: art, mathematics, computer programming and nature." --- Anne Burns, Professor of Mathematics, Long Island University, Brookville, NY
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"ParaStar8," by Mary Candace Williams. Quilt copyright 2003 Mary Candace Williams; photograph by Robert Fathauer.1918 viewsThis quilt is is the third in a series of quilts based on the approximation of a parabola by drawing a series of straight lines. There were eight divisions of the orginal block which was then mapped onto a rhombus and repeated eight times for the complete quilt. The star part of the design was enhanced by the use of shades of color.

--- Mary Candace Williams
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"The Vase," by Harry Benke (www.harrybenke.com)1898 views2010 Mathematical Art Exhibition Second Prize.

Giclee Print. 18" x 14.8", 2009. "The Vase" is composed of a digitally modeled vase with "Lilies" which are Dini's Surfaces. A surface of constant negative curvature obtained by twisting a pseudosphere is known as Dini's Surface. Imagine cutting the pseudosphere along one of the meridians and physically twisting it. Its parametric equations are: x=acos(u)sin(v); y=asin(u)sin (v); z=a{cos(v)+ln[tan(v/2)]}+bu, where 0<= u <= 2pi and 0< v< pi. Take a=1 and b=0.2. "I'm primarily an artist. My shadow is mathematics. I'm helpless at preventing mathematics from intruding in my work and it's delightful to have the body of mathematics to work with. My art attempts to produce a nexus between mathematical beauty and the beauty of the natural world to produce a satisfying aesthetic experience." --- Harry Benke (1949-2014) For information on original works by Harry Benke please contact julianne@visualimpactanalysis.com.
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Hamid Naderi Yeganeh, "1,000 Line Segments (1)" (August 2014)1898 viewsThis image shows 1,000 line segments. For each i=1,2,3,...,1000 the endpoints of the i-th line segment are: (-sin(2πi/1000), -cos(2πi/1000)) and ((-1/2)sin(8πi/1000), (-1/2)cos(12πi/1000)). I created this image by running my program on a Linux operating system. --- Hamid Naderi Yeganeh
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"Snowflake Model 2," by David Griffeath (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Janko Gravner (University of California, Davis)1896 viewsIn nature roughly a quintillion molecules make up every crystal that falls to earth, with the shape dictated by temperature, humidity and other local conditions. How such a seemingly random process produces snowflakes that are at once geometrically simple and incredibly intricate has captivated scientists since the early 1600s. Now we have simulated their 3D growth using a computational model that faithfully emulates both the basic shapes and the fine details and markings of the full range of observed forms. Our model is driven by diffusion-limited attachment of micron-scale blocks of ice; read about the underlying mathematics at http://psoup.math.wisc.edu/Snowfakes.htm. --- David Griffeath
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Hilbert's Square-Filling Curve1880 views"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
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Hamid Naderi Yeganeh, "A Bird in Flight" (November 2014)1860 viewsThis image is like a bird in flight. It shows 2000 line segments. For each i=1, 2, 3, ... , 2000 the endpoints of the i-th line segment are:
(3(sin(2πi/2000)^3), -cos(8πi/2000))
and
((3/2)(sin(2πi/2000)^3), (-1/2)cos(6πi/2000)).

I created this image by running my program. --- Hamid Naderi Yeganeh
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"36 circles in a dual tetrahedron pattern" by Bradford Hansen-Smith1859 viewsThe tetrahedron has four faces. The symbol of the circle is used as metaphor for nothing and for everything, and endless parts in-between. Folding circles appears to have little history: Somewhere in the history of origami lies the circle, unrecognized and discarded in favor of the square; Buckminster Fuller also folded the circle, with informational intent. Fuller is the inspiration for my own exploration into geometry and provided the seed for folding and joining circles-9" paper plates.

-- Bradford Hansen-Smith, Wholemovement
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"Figure eight knot," copyright Andrew Lipson. Made of Lego ®1846 viewsI think this is the most difficult single construction I have ever made out of Lego®. Those long sweeping curves, hanging unsupported in space... It's only when you get about 2/3 of the way up that you start to discover exactly which bits 1/3 of the way up aren't strong enough. And there are never enough 1x3 bricks... But I didn't cheat anywhere. The figure-eight knot has a nice tetrahedral skew-symmetry which the model illustrates quite well. On my website you can find more pictures and an LDRAW .DAT file generated by my program for this sculpture. Beware--the .DAT file builds it out of 1x1 bricks. Actually constructing this out of larger bricks so that it holds together is a (non-trivial) exercise! Lego® is a trademark of The Lego Group. --- Andrew Lipson (http://www.andrewlipson.com/mathlego.htm)
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"Escher's 'Belvedere'," copyright Andrew Lipson. Made of Lego ®1809 viewsDaniel 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)
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"Black and Blue Ricochet Trio," by Gary R. Greenfield, University of Richmond, VA (2008)1808 viewsDigital print, 14" x 24". "Many of my computer generated algorithmic art works are based on visualizations that are inspired by mathematical models of physical and biological processes. These three side-by-side black and blue "ricochet compositions" were generated by placing particles on each of the sides of a 16-gon, assigning them starting angles, and then letting each move in a straight line until it encounters an existing line segment at which point it is reflected--the ricochet--and then paused so that the next particle may take its turn. Further, if a particle ricochets off its own path, then the area it has just enclosed is filled using the requisite black or blue drawing color that particles were alternately assigned." --- Gary R. Greenfield, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Richmond, Richmond, VA
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"Snowflake Model 4," by David Griffeath (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Janko Gravner (University of California, Davis)1798 viewsIn nature roughly a quintillion molecules make up every crystal that falls to earth, with the shape dictated by temperature, humidity and other local conditions. How such a seemingly random process produces snowflakes that are at once geometrically simple and incredibly intricate has captivated scientists since the early 1600s. Now we have simulated their 3D growth using a computational model that faithfully emulates both the basic shapes and the fine details and markings of the full range of observed forms. Our model is driven by diffusion-limited attachment of micron-scale blocks of ice; read about the underlying mathematics at http://psoup.math.wisc.edu/Snowfakes.htm. --- David Griffeath
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American Mathematical Society