A Snowflake on Campus

Ever heard of the Mosely Snowflake Sponge? There is one being constructed on campus here at USC right now! (The image on the left is the poster for the event.) The fractal was discovered by engineer Jeannine Mosely, and she did a similar construction (of a different fractal, the Menger Sponge) some years ago out of folded business cards (see here for some great images!), and the same thing is being done here. You can learn more about the project here. Margaret Wertheim, of the Institute for Figuring, is running this project, with the help of Tyson Gaskill. Everyone is invited to join in. You can just show up and fold a few cubes as you pass by. I took a picture and made encouraging remarks on this visit. (My defense is that I’d just given an hour and a half presentation, it was getting late into the night, and I was tired.)

There’s Margaret and Tyson working on constructing it, alongside a colleague of theirs Deirdre Feehan (click for larger view). Among my helpful remarks was the observation that since this thing has never existed in the universe before (as far as we know), perhaps when they finish constructing it, the universe will simply end. For all we know, this entire 13.7 billion year gig was just en effort to find a way to construct this shape… the universe figured it out by first figuring out how to make us, and then we eventually got to the point where we made the thing it really wanted to make…

Just saying’.


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3 Responses to A Snowflake on Campus

  1. JR West says:

    Clifford, I love that you say “The image on the left,” as if you are inside the blog looking out at us. Just awesome. And the process isn’t very efficient, if nature’s goal is such a construction, but it is a darling creative way of going about it. Time to hit the bunker with my canned food and bottled water…

  2. Clifford says:

    Ha Ha! I changed the embedding but forgot to change the directions. Actually, I really like that interpretation… I’m looking back at you.. and you and you and YOU.

    By the way… funny you mention canned food and bottled water… I’m just stocking up on some right now…


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