Larry Hosken: New: Book Report: Tilings and Patterns

I know what you're thinking: Oh no, Larry tried to read another math book. No doubt this means the blog's"unfinished" tag will soon be attached to another book report. But I made it to the end of this one, really. Sort of. Well, I didn't understand all of the math along the way as such. But. But. But. But this book has a lot of pictures. It's about tesselations and patterns on the plane. Repeating patterns, symmetry, that sort of thing.

You might think that I'm reading this book because it gets into some stuff that Martin Gardner wrote about. And that would be a good reason. But actually my dad recommended this one to me. My dad makes this art... I guess one way to describe it is to imagine a piece of paper. Now draw some long line segments crossing the paper. These segments should be at different angles. So they should meet. Not all at one point. Different pairs of lines meet at different points. Now, where they meet, uhm, swirl that area. So instead of straight lines meeting at corners, you have curves meeting at spirals.

OK, now try some variations on that for a few years and see what you come up with. My dad has come up with some trippy stuff. And he's interested in these simple ways that you can divide up an area that look surprisingly interesting when you carry them out. And this book has them. There are examples of different tilings and patterns; some of them from the world of math; but some from the world of art, craft, and design.

Sometimes the book whorls off into strange territory like how there are only 47 (or whatever) ways to pattern a plane with items that might not be regular polyhedrons or whatever. And then there's this proof, maybe. And OK, I kind of glossed over that. But there were pretty pictures to look at. And thanks to the pictures, I could generally figure what the book was on about. And I could even follow some of the proofs (albeit not in the rigorous sort of way that a mathematician would approve of, but what can you do). And I even learned some things. Worth flipping through, certainly, and I was glad to slow down when things seemed understandable.

Tags: book art puzzle scene
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