Posts tagged
with math

Art Design

Unendurable Line: A Fun Short Film Tracks the Movement of Everyday Objects as a Real-Time Graph

September 5, 2017

Christopher Jobson

There’s simply no compelling way to describe this unusual short film from director Daihei Shibata which attempts to plot the movement of everyday objects such as a light switch or a spring as a real-time graph. Sibata explains this as a film that expresses “the various thresholds hidden in everyday life.” OK, interesting enough, but when paired with a score by the EX NOVO Chamber Choir—turn up the volume—it suddenly becomes completely amazing. I’d love to see a whole series of these. If you like this, all check out The Beauty of Mathematics. (via The Awesomer)




Super Satisfying Video of a Woodcarver Making ‘Fibonacci’ Spiral Shavings

April 18, 2017

Christopher Jobson

In this all too brief video woodworker Paul Sellers gives us a close-up view as he creates a number of ultra satisfying ‘Fibonacci’ spiral shavings. Between the soothing music, camerawork, and the mathematical perfection of each spiral as it rises from the wood, I could watch something like this all day. Somebody call somebody and turn this into an episode of Slow TV? (via Boing Boing, The Awesomer)




A mesmerizing pendulum wave demonstration with 16 bowling balls in a North Carolina forest

September 9, 2014

Christopher Jobson


If you’ve ever been to a science museum or taken a physics class, you’ve probably encountered an example of a pendulum wave. This video shows a large-scale pendulum wave contraption built on private property in the mountains of North Carolina, near Burnsville. The mechanism relies on 16 precisely hung bowling balls on a wooden frame that swing in hypnotic patterns for a cycle of about 2 minute and 40 seconds. Via Maria Ikenberry who filmed the clip:

The length of time it takes a ball to swing back and forth one time to return to its starting position is dependent on the length of the pendulum, not the mass of the ball. A longer pendulum will take longer to complete one cycle than a shorter pendulum. The lengths of the pendula in this demonstration are all different and were calculated so that in about 2:40, the balls all return to the same position at the same time – in that 2:40, the longest pendulum (in front) will oscillate (or go back and forth) 50 times, the next will oscillate 51 times, and on to the last of the 16 pendula which will oscillate 65 times.

Because the piece is outdoors, a number of factors prevent the balls from precisely lining up at the end, but it’s still easy to get the idea. In a perfectly controlled environment you get something like this.

Update: The pendulum was built by Appalachian State University teacher and artist Jeff Goodman.



Art Sponsor

Dizzying New GIFs at the Intersection of Art and Math by Dave Whyte (Sponsor)

August 26, 2014

Christopher Jobson

Starting this month Verizon FiOS customers can get upload speeds every bit as fast as their download speeds. Since that means faster, easier sharing of high-res illustrations, designs, and photos, FiOS is sponsoring a series of posts on Colossal to help us commission and share these super hi-res animated GIFs from some of the most amazing artists we could find.







Digital artist Dave Whyte (previously) continues to amaze us with his impressive mathematical gifs that bounce, swirl, and twist around the web as quickly as he posts them online. The Dublin-based PhD student is currently studying the physics of foam and tells us his first geometric gifs riffed on computational modules he was exploring while in undergrad. As interest in the work grows Whyte is focusing more on his artistic side, pushing the boundaries of these small animations created with the Processing programming language. He’s now able to fully envision each animation before coding it, making tweaks to color, timing, and measurements along the way. The artist publishes new images almost daily on his Tumblr, Bees & Bombs.




Photography Science

Momentum: Large Format Photos of Chalkboards from Quantum Mechanics Institutions by Alejandro Guijarro

March 17, 2014

Christopher Jobson









Momentum is a project by artist Alejandro Guijarro who spent three years traveling to the quantum mechanics departments of Cambridge, Stanford, Berkeley, Oxford and elsewhere to shoot large format photographs of blackboards just after lectures. Completely removed from the context of a classroom or laboratory and displayed in a gallery, the cryptic equations from one of the most formidable branches of physics become abstract patterns of line and color. Via the artist’s statement:

Before he walks into a lecture hall Guijarro has no idea what he will find. He begins by recording the blackboard with the minimum of interference. No detail of the lecture hall is included, the blackboard frame is removed and we are left with a surface charged with abstract equations. At this stage they are documents. However, once removed from their institutional beginnings the meaning evolves. The viewer begins to appreciate the equations for their line and form. Colour comes into play and the waves created by the blackboard eraser suggest a vast landscape or galactic setting. The formulas appear to illustrate the worlds of Quantum Mechanics. What began as a precise lecture, a description of the physicist’s thought process, is transformed into a canvas open to any number of possibilities.

Guijarro graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2010 with a MA in fine art and now lives
and works in both London and Madrid. He’ll have work later this year at PhotoEspaña. (via Not Shaking the Grass)




The Beauty of Mathematics: A Visual Demonstration of Math in Everyday Life

November 7, 2013

Christopher Jobson


This lovely video short from Yann Pineill and Nicolas Lefaucheux of Paris video production agency Parachutes succinctly demonstrates the underlying mathematics behind everyday occurrences in the format of a triptych. On the left we see the mathematical equation, in the middle a mathematical model, and on the right a video of such things as snowflakes, wind, sound, trees and magnetism. The video begins with the following quote:

“Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty — a beauty cold and austere, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music.” —Bertrand Russell

Best viewed full screen. (via Laughing Squid)




A Wooden Domino Tree by Qiu Zhijie

January 13, 2013

Christopher Jobson





The Small Knocking Down the Big is a 2009 installation by Chinese artist Qiu Zhijie made from hundreds of cut wooden dominoes meant to loosely demonstrate the effects of something that has become known as Domino Magnification (if you really, really enjoy physics see the recent work of J. M. J. van Leeuwen). The basic premise is that any domino can knock over another domino that’s roughly 1.5 times larger, meaning that if you gently pushed a normal sized domino into a chain of bricks that increase in size each time by 1.5, the 32nd object will be large enough to topple the Empire State Building. In the video example above it takes only 13 dominoes starting with an object the size of a bean to knock over a 100 lb. slab!

Zhijie’s installation is somewhat less mathematical and more visual, but the same mathematical principles hold true. Participants are invited to knock over the small dominoes at the outer branches of the installation which eventually gain enough momentum to knock over the thicker blocks at the trunk. (via lustik)