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An interesting side effect of women in the sciences - Persephone Yavanna the Entwife

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November 3rd, 2006

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10:45 pm - An interesting side effect of women in the sciences
This is the result of women going into what used to be traditionally male fields like mathematics -- outside-the-box thinking!

Crocheting mathematical models

A male mathematician would never have come up with an idea like this, in my opinion. Only a woman would have thought of using needlework to make previously-unvisualizable mathematical models of hyperbolic geometric shapes, since crochet and knitting are not things most men are taught, whereas many women learn these skills as girls.

Precisely because hyperbolic space expands exponentially, Taimina explains, it requires crocheting rather than knitting. "In knitting, all the stitches you are working with, you have on your needles," she says, adding some stitches to a shape she is completing. "So given the rate of increase, very quickly you cannot move your needles." Crocheting doesn't require all the stitches to be held on the needles simultaneously, enabling Taimina to pack more stitches into a smaller space. Crocheted forms are also stiff enough to hold their shape.

A gallery of crocheted hyperbolic models

For those handy with a crochet hook, here are the instructions for making your own crocheted hyperbolic plane:

Crocheted hyperbolic plane instructions

Current Mood: geekygeeky
Current Music: "With You There to Help Me" by Jethro Tull

(8 seeds eaten | Eat a pomegranate)


[User Picture]
Date:November 5th, 2006 01:51 am (UTC)
How funny to see you post this the day that I went to stitch'n'bitch! I am learning how to knit mittens just now, but there's a workshop later in the year for learning how to knit a "DNA scarf." Geeky, I know, but fun. :)
[User Picture]
Date:November 5th, 2006 04:48 pm (UTC)
i have often tried to explain knitting patterns by comparing them to the periodic table. the stitch before and the stitches above and below dictate what is to come next.
[User Picture]
Date:November 5th, 2006 06:14 pm (UTC)
Hmmm ... I wonder what happens to the stitches when the "element" above them "decides" to decompose into two different "elements" ... is this why I have so many problems with knitting? :)
[User Picture]
Date:November 8th, 2006 08:41 am (UTC)
Perhaps you should stick with crochet then . . . I find it much easier and more enjoyable than knitting, personally.

[User Picture]
Date:November 9th, 2006 02:44 am (UTC)
But I'm making a mitten.

At the rate I'm going - yes, just one. I realized today that I was doing *everything* wrong.

[User Picture]
Date:November 8th, 2006 08:33 am (UTC)
I've never come across that analogy before -- it's an interesting one.

[User Picture]
Date:November 8th, 2006 08:36 am (UTC)
A "DNA scarf"???

I'd love to see the instructions for that or a picture of the finished product. I wonder if you need to use four different yarns . . . ?

[User Picture]
Date:November 9th, 2006 02:51 am (UTC)
You can see a lot of different examples if you google image search for "DNA scarf"
but here is one example. Scrolling down, there's a science joke about histones, which is what made me click on this one. :)

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