Nearly four years ago I posted a story about knitting Escher inspired shapes and hyperbolic planes. Today in my mailbox I found a post from Let’s Play Math about a Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef. I immediately knew I had to share the information. If you don’t know much math, don’t worry — you can still crochet these mathematical objects and be a part of this wonderful project. Watch the video. Margaret Wertheim connects the crochet pieces to the evolution of life on earth, mathematics, history and traditional feminine arts. Through crochet, women have been able to model shapes in nature that have been ignored by mathematicians. This could even be a great after school project for suitably motivated people. If you are interested, I suggest you read all of the links in this post.
Let's Play Math gives simplified directions for crocheting the hyperbolic planes. Here is a link to a pdf file that gives more detailed directions on how to crochet these shapes: http://crochetcoralreef.org/Content/makeyourown/IFF-CrochetReef-HowToHandout.pdf You can even buy a book of instructions at http://theiff.org/publications/index.htmlSome fascinating articles about the coral reef project can be found in this article at http://www.math.cornell.edu/~dtaimina/hypplanes.htm
Finally, here is a slide show of the crocheted coral reef:The Coral Reef Project is from the Institute for Figuring. It is a fascinating group and worth browsing their site.