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Making a Human Connection through Science, Crochet and Coral Reefs

Making a Human Connection through Science, Crochet and Coral Reefs

by sarah • April 28

Making human connections is critical to our work— making complex ideas into instinctive and tangible ones. So when an inspiring and eye opening example comes along we take note!

Margaret Wertheim, a physicist and mathematician, had a childhood obsession with finding mathematical rhythms in nature. From an early age, she had a keen awareness that math is everywhere. She was driven to share this passion with a broader audience and help people connect on a deeper level with math and physics. As she moved through her career, she realized connecting science and handicraft were a powerful way to get people engaged.

She teamed up with her twin sister Christine, an artist, to found the Institute for Figuring. Together they launched the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef project. In Margaret's words, the high geometry of Coral can be expressed as "ruffles"— which is where Crochet and handicraft come into the picture. By connecting the mathematics of crochet, and handicraft communities to create their own coral reefs around the world, it's a powerful way to connect science, art, and people— while raising awareness of the fragility of our natural world.

This is the world's largest participatory art project with more than 3 million people involved. Find out more at the Institute for Figuring. The next installation can be viewed at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.