Sharing the beauty of maths

06 September 2017
Maths Craft origami icosahedron

Do you enjoy craft? Then you probably enjoy mathematics too – you just may not know it yet.

Join hosts Dr Nicolette Rattenbury from the University of Auckland’s Department of Mathematics, as well as Dr Jeanette McLeod, Dr Phil Wilson and Sarah Mark from the University of Canterbury’s School of Mathematics and Statistics at the second annual Maths Craft Festival on 9 and 10 September in the Auckland War Memorial Museum's Event Centre.

A full team of volunteers from the Department of Maths – staff, students and science scholars – will be supporting the two-day festival, which is part of a nationwide tour encouraging New Zealanders to discover the maths behind craft and the craft behind maths.

“The event is for those who love maths, those who find maths challenging and those interested in craft – basically everyone from the age of two to 102!” Nicolette says.

“It is an opportunity to show people how beautiful maths can be, and how useful it is in so many different ways.”

Creating origami octahedrons, flexagons (which look like they are two-sided but are six-sided) and Penrose tiles, along with French knitting, drawing and colouring, and building Menger sponges are among the many activities being offered at 10 different stations – and Nicolette says people can stay as long as they like.

The two-day festival also includes five public talks, one of which is by Department of Mathematics academics, Professor Bernd Krauskopf and Professor Hinke Osinga.

Their presentation, Chaos in Crochet and Steel, reflects their work on turning the famous Lorenz equations (which describe the nature of chaotic systems) into a beautiful, crocheted, real-life object.

“A lot of our speakers are really good at finding mathematics in ordinary everyday things from how you tie your shoe laces, tie knots or even how to set a wobbly table straight,” the organisers’ add.

“Through these events, we’re keen to show people how maths underpins almost every aspect of today’s society. Whether it’s used in crafts, technology, business, science, social science or education, maths is vital.”

Get along to the 2017 Maths Craft Festival 2017, sponsored by Curious Minds and supported by Te Pūnaha Matatini and the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Entry is free with a museum ticket.