Friday, 18 September 2009

Mathematicians Crochet Chaos

Dr Osinga (left) and Prof Krauskopf with their "Lorenz manifold". Click to see the model more clearly.

Mathematicians have made a crochet model of chaos - and are challenging anyone else to repeat the effort.

Dr Hinke Osinga and Professor Bernd Krauskopf, of Bristol University's engineering mathematics department, used 25,511 crochet stitches to represent the Lorenz equations.

The equations describe the nature of chaotic systems - such as the weather or a turbulent river.

The academics are offering a bottle of champagne to anyone who cares to follow the pattern published in the journal Mathematics Intelligencer.

Floating leaves

The idea for the Lorenz manifold model came to the couple during the Christmas break two years ago.

Dr Osinga, who learnt to crochet when she was seven, was relaxing by crocheting some hexagonal lace motifs.

Prof Krauskopf asked her: "Why don't you crochet something useful?"

Eighty-five hours of work and some supporting steel wire later, they had something almost a metre across which looks not unlike a big Christmas decoration - which is what they are using it as.

Entire article