Feeds

Islamic ceramics wow mathematicians

Medieval 'quasicrystalline geometry'

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

A US scientist has discovered that medieval Islamic ceramic designs demonstrate their makers' understanding of "quasicrystalline geometry" - something modern mathematicians only "figured out" in the last 20 or 30 years.

That's according to Harvard's Peter Lu, who normally designs physics experiments for the International Space Station, but spotted an interesting decagonal motif tile design on a 16th Century building in Uzbekistan.

The pattern (see pic in BBC article here) shows "rotational symmetry yet lacks translational symmetry", as Science puts it, and "echoes quasicrystalline geometry in that both use symmetrical polygonal shapes to create patterns that can be extended indefinitely".

Lu said: "It's absolutely stunning. They made tilings that reflect mathematics that were so sophisticated that we didn't figure it out until the last 20 or 30 years."

Lu's study, published in Science, challenges the belief that "the complicated star-and-polygon patterns of Islamic design were conceived as zigzagging lines drafted using straightedge rulers and compasses".

Lu added: "You can go through and see the evolution of increasing geometric sophistication. So they start out with simple patterns, and they get more complex." ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.