“Mathematics, marine biology, feminine handicraft and environmental activism”

Have you seen this 2009 TED talk by Margaret Wertheim about The Institute for Figuring and their crocheted coral reefs? I just came across it, and it’s pretty fascinating. Apparently that crenelated form you see in sea slugs and leaf lettuce is difficult for mathematicians to reckon with. They represent what’s known as hyperbolic space and, according to Wertheim, “the only way that mathematicians know how to model this structure is with crochet.”

She’s not only obviously very intelligent and a great speaker with a cool topic, but she is totally rocking that hot pink crocheted “coral” around her wrist.

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3 thoughts on ““Mathematics, marine biology, feminine handicraft and environmental activism”

  1. Oh, yes! I have seen this! One of my co-workers (math teacher) and I are dying to create a math-knitting- crocheting-science class where we create a coral reef- or ANYTHING- for our school!

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