23 Apr

Pythagoras Cubed

I was recently invited at the last minute to lead a mathematical construction for a seminar for math majors at Loyola Marymount University. The hope was to create something physical connected with one of the topics in the course, which linked the history of mathematics with various unsolved problems, among other things. Since there had… [Read more]

09 Apr

Truncated Triakis Tetrahedron

Materials 42 modular units cut out and folded (see Modular Origami, without the origami)(preferably 9 each of four colors and 6 of another) For the actual building event mentioned in the previous post (linked above), participants could choose from a variety of target polyhedra. The origami inspiration was the PHiZZ unit, which stands for Pentgons… [Read more]

07 Dec

Math’s Bubbling (not) Over

Here’s a large-scale model I designed of the Weaire-Phelan space packing, built by the participants of the Fall 2019 semester on Illustrating Mathematics at ICERM in Providence. The title above is a reference to the fact that it is still not established whether this is the most surface-area parsimonious way to divide space into cells… [Read more]

28 Sep


Here’s a picture of FireStar, a large-scale woven small stellated dodecahedron constructed by visitors to the open house of the Institute for Computational and Experimental Mathematics during Providence, RI’s WaterFire festival on 2019 Sep 28.

29 Jul

More Life at a glance

A few days after the event at TCNJ, students at the PROMYS program at Boston University built another “Life sculpture” in which each layer is a generation and time proceeds downwards. Here, we explored questions of how you might know things like whether the resulting “sculpture” would be connected, or whether it would be self-supporting.… [Read more]

27 Jul

x-y-t Life

Here is a photo of the first 13 generations of the evolution of the “R” pentomino pattern in John Conway’s Game of Life. Each layer represents one generation, and time proceeds downwards. In each layer, live cells are represented by boxes. The color of the box indicates how many generations that cell has been alive:… [Read more]

17 Apr

Spectral Snub

Here’s an image from inside one of a pair of mirror-image snub dodecahedra built by passersby on the Harvard Science center plaza in 2019 April. The completed work, “Spectral Snub”, was on display inside the Science Center for the following four days. Photo courtesy of Stepan Paul.

07 Nov

Deltahedral Torus?

Here’s a torus built from equilateral-triangle Geometiles that I used as a prop for an undergraduate talk at Harvard University in the Fall semester of 2018. Actually, the structure it is based on is not mathematically exact; the triangles theoretically are isosceles triangles of sides 1, 1, and 0.998, but there is plenty of give… [Read more]

21 Oct


This is a placeholder post for pictures of an installation I led on 2018 Oct 21 at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, entitled “Tetrahelix”. It consisted of a double helix, one strand of which was composed entirely of regular tetrahedra connected face-to-face (such compounds can reach any point in space and come arbitrarily close to… [Read more]

31 Jul

“Marshmallow” Snub Dodecahedron

Here’s a a student-built snub dodecahedron that resulted from a session I led in July 2018 at The College of New Jersey. It uses the classic “marshmallow and toothpick” construction technique, just with styrofoam balls in place of the marshmallows and 1/8″ diameter dowels in place of the toothpicks. For geometric accuracy, the students did… [Read more]

02 Jan


The title stands for “rhombic hexecontahedron of dodecahedra,” and that’s exactly what Matt Parker and I built at Studio Infinity over the 2017-2018 New Year’s break. Here’s a photo of the finished product; this post will be fleshed out further as time permits.