Brilliant Geometry is a collaboration between the School of Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh, the Department of Mathematics at Oklahoma State University, and the Warwick Mathematics Institute. We bring the creativity and precision of mathematics to the general public; we do this with computer aided design, recent innovations in 3D printing, and very, very bright lights!
Brilliant Geometry consists of a variety of exhibits: hand-held projectors, shadow lanterns, and a zoetrope, which animates 3-dimensional objects before your eyes. Each exhibit invites our guests to play with some combination of mathematical ideas: we cover the concepts of dimension, of projections between spaces, of polygons and polytopes, and of geometric tilings.
Polytopes are mathematical building blocks, used to construct more complicated patterns called tilings: an everyday version of this is the way in which bricks tile a path. It is a deep principle in science that the local properties of a polytope determine the global structure of the tiling. To see these global structures we often have to distort and squeeze the big tiled thing to fit into our (quite small!) three-dimensional space. We have a tricky way to do this – the dignified term is “stereographic projection”. We invite you to come and see the tricky tilings at Brilliant Geometry!