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July 1, 2014 AT 12:00 pm

3D Visualizations of Math Equations #makereducation

97 mero top view

These 3D sculptures of math equations at MIT are not modern relics of the 3D printing era age, but rather the work of mathematicians from more than 100 years ago, from Wired:

The doors to MIT are always unlocked. If you slip in at night and take a long walk down the fluorescent hallway called the Infinite Corridor, you will pass flatscreen monitors displaying friendly robots, gleaming lab equipment behind large plate glass, and advertisements for the bitcoin club. Turn off the main drag into an alcove in the building numbered 2, and you’ll find something that seems out of place: a locked display case stuffed with strange forms made of plaster and string.* Were they not dulled by age and covered with dust, they might pass for products of a modern fab lab or the nearby school of design. But those mysterious surfaces were made more than a century ago by mathematicians to answer a simple question: What does an equation look like?

…As the centuries rolled by, mathematicians began to understand the possibilities of curves on paper, circles and parabolas and cubics, and by the end of the 19th century, German mathematicians were leading the way from the flat plane into three-dimensional space.

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