School of Mathematics

Botanica Mathematica

Botanica Mathematica is a project which uses textiles to explore the mathematical structures and patterns arising in botanical forms. This unique fusion of mathematics, craft and biology is the brainchild of Mathematics Engagement Officer Julia Collins (University of Edinburgh) and textile artist Madeleine Shepherd (also at ICMS), and featured recently as the final event in a lecture series celebrating the Year of Mathematics of Planet Earth.

The lecture at ICMS was followed by an exhibition, allowing the audience to get a closer look at the binary bonsai trees, knitted chanterelles, crocheted kelp, Fibonacci flowers and cellular automata seashell patterns. Most of the collection has been created by knitters and crafters from around the world, including specimens sent over from the USA and from New Zealand as well as from the Orkney islands and Glasgow.

Although the Year of Maths of Planet Earth is coming to an end, Botanica Mathematica has been so successful that it will continue into 2014, with plans for an article in the newsletter of the Botanical Society of Scotland and further exhibitions at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and the Edinburgh International Science Festival.

To find out more about the project, and to keep updated with future developments, visit the Botanica Mathematica website.

To find out more about the University of Edinburgh’s involvement in Maths of Planet Earth 2013, visit their website