Wheel of Theodorus mathematical quilt

Made:
1998 in West Lafayette

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Wheel of Theodorous mathematical quilt, inspired by the Greek mathematican's use of the root spiral to explain irrational numbers, made by Elaine Krajenke Ellison, 1998.

The introductory object representing beauty is appropriately based on Greek mathematics, as the Greeks were especially interested in harmony and order in nature. Theodorus, who was mentioned by Plato, studied the square roots of numbers up to 17, finding that many of them ‘had no common measure’, a concept already familiar to Indian mathematicians. He is thought to have represented these numbers in a ‘wheel’ or spiral. The bright yellow triangles have sides in the ratio 1:1:2. The adjacent triangles have sides 1:2:3; the next have sides 1:3:4 (= 2), etc. The quilt was made by hand.

Details

Category:
Mathematics
Materials:
cloth, complete
Measurements:
overall (estimate): 3 x 780 x 410 mm
Identifier:
2000-1087
type:
quilt (mathematical)
credit:
Ellison, Elaine Krajenke

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