This project made possible by funding from The West Oxford Agricultural Society ~ presenter of The Fryeburg Fair

Monday, June 6, 2011

How Hyperbolic Crochet Began

Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes by Dr Daina Taimina

Professor and Mathematician Daina Taimina received her formal education in Theoretical Computer Sciences and her doctorate in Mathematics in her native country of Latvia. After teaching there for 20 years she joined the Cornell Math Department in 1996 where she continues to teach today. She is credited with inventing  hyperbolic shapes using crochet.  In 1997 while attending a geometry workshop, she saw paper models of hyperbolic planes.  This inspired her to use the knit and crochet skills she learned in her youth to make more durable models. Her experimentation began with knitting but quickly moved to crochet to better accommodate the growing number stitches necessary to create the hyperbolic shapes. Today, Daina Taimina along with her husband Dr David Henderson, incorporate hyperbolic crocheted models in their classes on non-Euclidean geometry at Cornell as teaching tools. Additionally, Professor Taimina gives talks around the globe on teaching geometry as well as  the role that physical crochet models play in that teaching. 

It wasn't until the nineteenth century that mathematicians even believed that hyperbolic space was possible and the idea of making a model of one was considered impossible. Margaret and Christine Wertheim of the Institute For Figuring took it to another level by creating th Crochet Coral Reef project that Maine is participating in. 

We've come a long way baby! Combining the maths, science and art is what the Satellite Maine Crochet Reef project is all about but without Daina Taimina's experimentations and discoveries, crochet coral might possibly not exist. 

Ms. Taimina's models have also been included in the American Mathematical Model Collection at the Smithsonian Institution as well as many other venues around the world. Her book titled Crocheting Adventures With Hyperbolic Planes is filled with  lovely photographs in which she teaches about the geometry of hyperbolic planes and includes patterns for creating them in crochet.

In September of 2010, Daina Taimina spoke at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York City about hyperbolic crochet. Watch this you tube video here

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