Math and art

Most people don’t think of math and art as having much in common. Math follows strict rules; art is all about being creative. But math can produce some really cool images, such as those at Jos Leys’ Mathematical Imagery.

I found my way here from the Astronomy Picture of the Day from Monday, a “mathematical visualization of a generalization of a fractal into three dimensions” which looks more like an imaginative illustrator’s conception of an alien life form. I took a brief look at more information about Mandelbulb sets, and was reminded why I did not major in math. (I did very well in math up through calculus, I just found nothing in it that made me want to learn more.)

The art created by Jos Leys, however, is amazing, so I’m glad there are people who do study math and create the kind of software that can create such images. Some of these look like beautiful jewelry, others would make great posters, and some look like inspiration for some interesting characters in children’s picture books.


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