Monday, 27 October 2008

A Disappearing Number : pattern recognition

[image from:]

I recently went to see the wonderful A Disappearing Number at the Barbican theatre in London.

The play takes as its starting point the story of the famous Indian mathemetician from the early 20th century, Srinivasa Ramanujan and parallels abstract mathematical concepts with human raw human emotions of love and loss.

To be honest, I have never needed much convincing that mathematics is about patterns, and that patterns are beautiful. But many people seem to have been put off maths at an early age and see it as a tangled and difficult mess of rules that are the antithesis of creative.

But, on the other hand, many crafts (and knitting particularly springs to mind here) are quite fundementally about patterns, I often wonder if there is a natural affinity between knitters and mathematics. Perhaps that explains the many scientists, software developers and accountant knitters I have met?

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