Tuesday, 1 April 2008
Ohhh. It's Arts And Crafts Hour
Sometimes understanding the more difficult topics in mathematics requires using more that just the visual sense. Dr. Daina Taimina created a set of crochet models created with a couple of simple rules to model hyperbolic spaces. Start with a small number of stitches and as you go around, increase a stitch or more for every stitch crochet. The more the stitches are increased, the more the model becomes folded. There is more over at Good Math Bad Math.
When I took calculus in college, my calculus professor was heavily into woodworking. Sometime he would bring in models he created on a lathe to show the results of rotating a curve around a line or axis. He would then place the model in water to get the volume of water displaced by the model. We would then integrate the equation describing the curve to calculate the volume of the curve rotated around the line and check to see that the two values match. I seem to learn easier by having a model in front of me. The more senses involved, the easier it is to learn.