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The Unreasonable Beauty of Mathematics [Slide Show]

Mathematical structures both natural and man-made dazzle the eye
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KNOT THEORY:

The trefoil is the simplest knot in mathematicians' classification. Knot theory goes back to the 19th century, when physicists briefly thought knots might explain atoms; mathematicians continued to develop the theory for its inherent interest.....[ More ]

MÖBIUS PROTEIN:

The major component of high-density lipoprotein (HDL, sometimes known as "good cholesterol"), apolipoprotein A-I, consists of a kinked helix about 12.5 nanometers in its longest dimension. Mike Tyka of the University of Washington, a protein-folding expert and artist/tinkerer , maintains a catalog of his favorite molecules.....[ More ]

MÖBIUS TREFOIL PUZZLE:

Tom Longtin is a fan of the Möbius strip and its many variants, such as this trefoil—an overhand knot with a twist in it.....[ More ]

HEAVENLY SPIRALS:

Spiral patterns occur throughout nature, perhaps most dramatically in spiral galaxies. This pair of galaxies has particularly unusual spiral patterns that are presumably the result of the gravitational tidal forces between them.....[ More ]

DOUBLE SPIRAL:

Paul Nylander maintains an incredible collection of mathematical art , along with the Mathematica code to recreate it.....[ More ]

FRACTAL BROCCOLI:

John Ostrowick , responding to our Twitter call for examples of natural mathematical beauty, suggested Romanesco broccoli. This photo by Jon Sullivan was selected by Wikipedia users as one of the most spectacular on that site.....[ More ]

FRACTAL BUBBLES:

Richard Taylor specializes in discovering the occurrence of fractals in the world. (He has argued that fractal geometry can tell a real Jackson Pollack painting from a knock-off.) He took this picture at the edge of the pond in Sydney, Australia.....[ More ]

FAMOUS FRACTAL:

This is a version of one of the best known fractals, the Julia set. Fractals in general are a compelling example of how abstract mathematical forms, generated by seemingly simple algorithms in which a pattern repeats on multiple scales, are capable of intricate beauty.....[ More ]

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