HYPERNOM, Euclid the Game, and Math Quilts

Welcome to this week’s Math Munch! And, welcome to a new school year! Back to school means back to Math Munch– and we’re super excited to share some great new things that we found over the summer.  The first of which is…

… THIS.

(GIF hoisted from the amazing Aperiodical)

That’s an image from this crazy new game called HYPERNOM, invented by some of our favorite people– Vi Hart, Henry Segerman, and Andrea Hawksley!

Noming through tasty tasty tetrahedra. Mmmm!

Noming through tasty tasty tetrahedra.

In this game, you wiggle around in a projection of 4-dimensional space, eating (or, better put, NOMING– NOM NOM NOM) 4-dimensional objects. Such as the dodecahedra (polyhedron with faces made from regular pentagons) that come together to form the 4-dimensional shape (called a polytope) you’re moving around in.

Playing hypernomThis game is MINDBLOWING. Really. You can play it on your computer– but I got to play it wearing a helmet that plunged me into the fourth dimension and left me feeling very dizzy.

The math behind HYPERNOM is kind of complicated but VERY interesting. If you’d like to learn more about the game and the 4-dimensional math it involves, check out this post from Aperiodical. Or, watch the talk that Vi, Henry, and Andrea gave about HYPERNOM at this year’s Bridges Mathematical Art conference!

Next up, the Math Munch team went back to school a few weeks ago, too– literally! And this member of the Math Munch team is taking a math class! My homework assignment last week was to play a new game called Euclid: The Game.

On my way to constructing an equilateral triangle. What should I do next?

On my way to constructing an equilateral triangle. What should I do next?

The game is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. You get to use just a straight-edge and compass (but a virtual straight-edge and compass, powered by Geogebra, because it’s a computer game!) to make Euclid’s constructions. For instance, the first challenge is to make an equilateral triangle– and all you can do is draw circles and lines! How would you do that?

I love this game for learning geometry because it lets you see how Euclid and his mathematicians peers thought about geometry– but you don’t have to use a real compass! The game saves your constructions so you can use them later– so if you ever want to make an equilateral triangle again, you don’t have to start from scratch. The game also gives you points if you make your construction with the least number of steps or without using any new tools. Give it a try!

Ellison tessellation quiltFinally, I recently ran across the beautiful mathematical quilts of Elaine Ellison. Elaine is a former high school math teacher from Indiana who now creates and gives talks about making mathematical quilts. Her quilts explore some of the most interesting types of mathematics– from tessellations (like the Escher-inspired fish tessellation quilt to the left), to conic sections, to strange geometric spaces.

Ellison poincare quilt

“Poincare Plane”

Ellison parabola quilt

“Parabolas”

Elaine has a website and a YouTube channel devoted to her gorgeous quilts. Check them out! Here’s a taster:

We hope you’re enjoying your return to school! We definitely are. Bon appetit!

12 responses »

  1. I thought that the quilt that you chose was very interesting, and I liked how it changed colors and had shapes that looked like animals. I do have a question and it is do the other quilts look similar to the one that you chose to share with us, or are they totally different looking.

    • Hi, Luca! That’s a great question. The other quilts are totally different! It’s amazing how many different beautiful quilts Elaine has designed and made. I think her work is very impressive, especially because it’s all so different. You should check out her website and see more of her quilts, if you’re interested! Thanks for the comment!

    • Hi, Sierra! I wonder about the same thing. I’m always really impressed by people who can make such complex and beautiful pieces of art. Have you ever tried to make art using math? It’s fun to try and looks amazing– Elaine’s quilts are great examples. Thanks for your comment!

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  3. I think Euclid: The Game is very frustrating. To me it was extremely confusing and I didn’t know what to do the whole time. I wish they would include more specific instructions on how to play it.

  4. it is so cool how people can take the time and construct things like this .This makes me what to sit back and think about what i want to design. Was it hard to do? How long did it take?

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