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IFF Directors Talks

IFF Directors Talks 2012
IFF Directors Talks 2011
IFF Directors Talks 2010
IFF Directors Talks 2009


Previous IFF Lectures

Exhibition Opening and Fractal Unveiling
Doheny Library, University of Southern California
Thursday, September 20, 2012 @ 57pm

A Lecture by Ryan and Trevor Oakes
Sat. September 22, 2012 @ 68pm

Theoretical and Practical Explorations of Space

@ Hayward Gallery, London
June 12–14, 2012

IFF Director Margaret Wertheim speaks at Art Center College of Design
June 22, 2011 @ 7pm
With Dr. Jerry Schubel, President and CEO, Aquarium of the Pacific

Captain Charles Moore Talks About Plastic Trash
[IFF-L22] Saturday Jan 17, 2009

IFF Director Margaret Wertheim
Neuroscience Discussions at the LA Public Library

[IFF-L21] October 2 + November 10, 2008

Seeing Anew [IFF-L20]
A lecture by Trevor and Ryan Oakes
at Machine Project Sunday, June 24 @ 7pm

The Logic Alphabet of Shea Zelleweger[IFF-L19]
A discussion with the IFF and Dr. Shea Zelleweger
at Foshay Masonic Lodge Saturday, March 3 @ 5pm

Structural Considerations of the Business Card Sponge[IFF-L17]
By Dr. Jeannine Mosely
Sunday, September 10 @ 8pm

The Insect Trilogy
@ Telic Arts Exchange
How Flies Fly [IFF-L14]
By Dr Michael Dickinson
The Ecology of a Termite's Gut [IFF-L15]
By Dr Jared Leadbetter
What is it Like to be a Spider? [IFF-L16]
By Dr Simon Pollard

Where the Wild Things Are 2:
A Talk About Knot Theory
By Ken Millett
at The Drawing Center in NY.

Where the Wild Things Are 2
by Ken Millett
at the University of California, Santa Barbara

Things That Think:
A hands-on history of physical computation devices.

by Nick Gessler [IFF-L12]

Where the Wild Things Are:
A Talk about Knot Theory

by Ken Millett [IFF-L11]
at The Foshay Masonic Lodge (Culver City)

Crocheting the Hyperbolic Plane:
A conversation on non-euclidean geometry and feminine handicraft

by Dr. Daina Taimina and IFF Director Margaret Wertheim [IFF-L10]

Darwinism on a Desktop:
Sodaplay and the Evolution of a Digital World

by Ed Burton [IFF-L9]

The Logic Alphabet
by Christine Wertheim [IFF-L8]

Why Things Don't Fall Down
A Talk About Tensegrities
by Robert Connelly [IFF-L7]

The Art and Science of Child’s Play

By Norman Brosterman [IFF-L6]

Crocheting the Hyperbolic Plane [IFF-L5]
A Talk by David Henderson and Daina Taimina

The Mathematics of Paper Folding [IFF-L4]
by Robert Lang

The Physics of Snowflakes [IFF-L3]
by Kenneth Libbrecht

Crocheting the Hyperbolic Plane [IFF-L2]
by Daina Taimina and David Henderson

The Figure That Stands Behind Figures:
Mosaics Of The Mind
by Robert Kaplan


Previous Events

Crochet Hyperbolic Workshop
Proteus Gowanus gallery, Brooklyn, NY

Hyperbolic Crochet Workshop:
a celebration of feminine handicraft and higher geometry and a homage to the disappearing wonder of coral reefs.

at The Institute For Figuring – Special Collections

A workshop on crocheting the hyperbolic plane.
at the Velaslavasay Panorama in Los Angeles.


Crocheting the Hyperbolic Plane:
A Talk by David Henderson and Daina Taimina [IFF-L5]
The IFF Lecture #5

Saturday, February 5, 2005 @ 5pm
Co-hosted by The Institute For Figuring and Cabinet Magazine.
Venue: The Kitchen, New York

Cornell University mathematicians David Henderson and Daina Taimina will present a talk about non-euclidean geometry and their discovery of crocheted models of hyperbolic space - a spatial structure found in the crenellation of lettuce leaves, the anatomy of sea slugs, and potentially in the shape of the physical cosmos. Lecture number five in The Institute for Figuring Inaugural Lecture Series: “Figuring Space.”

CROCHETING THE HYPERBOLIC PLANEby Daina Taimina and David Henderson
CROCHETING THE HYPERBOLIC PLANEby Daina Taimina and David Henderson
Crocheted model of hyperbolic plane
by Daina Taimina

Daina Taimina and David Henderson are mathematicians at Cornell University. They are co-authors of Experiencing Geometry a classic text on euclidean and non-euclidean space. In 1997 Daina worked out how “hyperbolic” space could be modeled by crochet. Since then, she and David have used her woolen models to further explore this peculiar topology. Here, David and Daina will talk about crocheting the hyperbolic plane, the geometry of lettuce, and the architecture of the universe.


Fluted and crenelated, the leaf of a lettuce curves away from itself. From the modest beginning of the stubby stalk where it abuts the stem, to the flared and scalloped edge, the space literally expands, each point seeking to maximize its domain. Lettuces, cabbages and certain types of kelp all embody hyperbolic geometry - the geometric opposite of the sphere.

Used to model the World Wide Web and the structure of the human brain, hyperbolic space deviates from rectilinear norms. In “flat” or Euclidean space parallel lines remain equidistant, but on curved surfaces a more complex topology reigns. Think of the surface of the earth: here, lines of Longitude are “parallel” at the equator yet intersect at the poles. In hyperbolic space, parallel lines curve away from each other - the further one travels from any point the more room there is.

For Isaac Newton and his followers, physical space was Euclidean - endless, formless and flat. But in 1919 measurements of starlight bending around the sun showed that space is intrinsically curved. In one recent model proposed by physicists, our universe is shaped like soccer ball; in another it resembles a trumpet. The WMAP satellite currently taking pictures of the distant cosmos may at last determine which, if any, of the proposed models describes the global geometry
of our world.


see also:

PRESS - Hyperbolic Models on NPR's All Things Considered!

Interview with David Henderson and Daina Taimina

A gallery of hyperbolic models

Download a pdf* to create a hyperbolic soccer ball

Lecture 02

*pdf download requires Adobe Reader or Apple Preview