Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press
"Mathematics and Tensegrity" by Robert Connelly and Allen Black. Amercian Scientist, March - April 1998 .
What in the world is a tensegrity? The term, coined by an artist and mathematician, refers to a type of structure made up of sticks held together by cables or wires, which retains its shape even under tension. These aesthetic objects appear in art and nature. A spider web is a kind of tensegrity made up of just cables and no sticks. In this article from the American Scientist, Black and Connely explain some of the mathematics used to describe these structures. Two aspects of tensegrities - stability and symmetry - are explored in detail.