We have created a world of recti-linearity: The rooms we inhabit, the skyscrapers we work in, and the streets we drive on speak to us in straight lines. But outside our boxes nature teems with swooping and crenelated forms. From the curling structures of corals, kelps and nudibranchs, to the filled surfaces of lettuces and cacti, nature has a love affair with hyperbolic geometry – an alternative to the Euclidean variety we learn about in school. Yet while nature has been playing with hyperbolic forms for hundreds of millions of years, human mathematicians spend centuries trying to prove they were impossible. Ultimately the discovery of this "pathological" geometry ushered in a geometric revolution that led to the mathematics underling general relativity, which tells us about the structure of spacetime and the universe as a whole. In this delightful event, Margaret gives a talk about the history of hyperbolic math and its relevance to physics and biology, then leads a hands-on workshop in which participants get to construct their own hyperbolic models out of paper.

All materials supplied. No prior experience needed. Suitable for all ages & audiences: mathematicians, artists, architects, teachers, students (12 and up).                  

Workshop duration: 2 - 3 hours

Workshops have been held at: Hayward Gallery (London), Art Center College of Design (Pasadena), Brown University (RI), Institute For Figuring (Los Angeles), University of Technology Sydney, Los Angeles Music Center: Teachers Professional Development Seminar, Mount Wilson Observatory (Pasadena). Click on images to advance: