Mathematics in the Eye of the Beholder

If you’re like me, you might get as excited about the intricate patterns in a museum’s parquet floor as in the art hanging on the wall. I love seeing the world through a mathematical lens and celebrating the patterns built into everyday life. We’ve shared image-based math blogs here in the past: complex functions, math gifs, and beautiful geometric designs. Today I’d like to share some of my favorite math photo blogs.

A parquet floor in the palace at Versailles. I guess the stuff on the tables and walls was nice too. Image: Evelyn Lamb

The Mathematical Tourist is a daily blog of math-adjacent photographs by math writer Ivars Peterson. He shares photos of architecture, art with mathematical themes, and occasional not-so-mathy stuff.

I also enjoy Turismo Matemático, a Spanish (both in language and in country of origin, I believe) math picture blog. They tend to share examples of mathematics in art and architecture, such as the many mathematical details of the Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona and the many paintings containing compasses and astrolabes. When I was living in Paris earlier this year, I was excited to see posts about things I had seen, particularly the climate change equations in the Gare du Nord train station. Turismo Matemático has a short article to accompany each photo, too. It’s in Spanish, so an added bonus is that you can learn a few Spanish words or practice your Spanish while you enjoy some math pictures. (Or take your chances with your browser’s translation if your Spanish isn’t quite up to it.)

The MAA used to maintain a page of Found Math images updated every week. It seems to have gone dormant in 2015, but there’s a lot of good stuff in the archives on their website and on their Flickr page.

World Tessellation Day in June (the 17th, to coincide with M.C. Escher’s birthday) was a fun celebration of tiling patterns in buildings and on sidewalks. I wrote about the holiday, invented by Emily Grosvenor, here last year and on my blog Roots of Unity this year. The Twitter hashtag #worldtessellationday was a lot of fun to watch that day. I learned about a church in Spain that features a marble Penrose tiling (article in Spanish). It’s enough to make you want to plan a trip to Mahón!

Do you like to take mathy pictures? Share them on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #mathphoto or #foundmath.

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