Posted in design and architecture, education, engineering

Hyperbolic planes: the true story

I have written several times about the Institute for Figuring‘s crocheted coral reef. The coral pieces are based off of the  mathematical idea of 3D hyperbolic space. This concept was easy enough to express through mathematical modeling, but no one had been able to properly demonstrate the actual 3D representation of this idea. Mathmatician Daina Taimina figured out that you could in fact demonstrate a 3D model using crochet; it’s flexible, it’s flat and curvy at the same time, and it follows a mathematical pattern.

Taimina recently wrote to me to tell me that she has now published her own book describing the technique; Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes.

According to the book description: “This richly illustrated book discusses non-Euclidean geometry and the hyperbolic plane in an accessible way. The author provides instructions for how to crochet models of the hyperbolic plane, pseudosphere, and catenoid/helicoids.”

These are very cool to see and make one for your very own. [Wordpress seems to be on the fritz, so I will post pics later].

Thanks Daina!



Beth Kelley is an applied & digital anthropologist with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces, built environments, and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.