Stairway to Heaven?

“There’s a lady who’s sure
All that glitters is gold
And she’s buying a stairway to heaven […] “

the_orbitNot that I’m calling Boris Johnson, the [occasional village idiot] Mayor of London, a lady or anything. It just was the best bit of the song I could use for the story. This structure does not exist yet, but it seems that will. What is it? Another Big Thing for people to go up to look over London. Yay. Silly, in many ways, but I will admit that I like it as a piece of mathematical poetry squiggled in the sky. It is by Anish Kapoor. Story here from the BBC, and here from AOL news. Video of announcement from Guardian here.

Now, while looking at the picture above, I noticed something interesting. Is it just me, or is the sky wrong? I don’t mean that it is blue and over London and therefore a contradiction (droll, but not even close to the truth). Look at the shadow of the Thing (called The Orbit, I think), and look at the pattern of the blue in the sky. Then look at this post I did on patterns in the blue sky that you can work out using physics of scattering of light. I don’t think they match as well as they ought. Perhaps it is within margin for error, but the sun looks to be a bit too far to the left to me. Perhaps someone in the architect’s office (ARUP, I think, they supplied the image) needs to be reading Asymptotia. Or learning some physics…

(Note: Since it was announced on March 30th, I assume it is not an April Fool Joke.)


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4 Responses to Stairway to Heaven?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Stairway to Heaven? at Asymptotia --

  2. plato says:

    I thought from a historical standpoint to today?

    It’s all in the shading?:)I mean for instance, using architectural objects for telling time? Or marking locations.

    Stefan of Backreaction had a nice blog posting about it placing one in New York.

    Would this serve as an illustration “for picture analysis” in Stairway to Heaven? A relation too, the idea of Early Euclidean beginnings ‘of the geometries’ as a basis of “angle of determinations’ of the sun’s location?


  3. Clifford says:

    Can’t say I understand most of what you are saying with the oddly placed quotes and question marks… but it is most certainly not all in the shading. The sun, in a certain position, casts a shadow at a specific angle. The sky’s blue has a specific pattern which is related to the sun’s position in the sky (see the Blue Skies… post). So an artist or other renderer might do well to be mindful of this, just like an artist doing depictions of human beings spends a bit of time (a lot, typically) learning human anatomy in some detail.



  4. Plato says:

    You mean like Mona Lisa’s smile perhaps?:)Or perhaps “monte carlo methods” for determination of quantum gravity artisticly compared to the cubists?

    Shading was perhaps a wrong choice of words( only considered the geometry) while still considering the sun’s location.