Math + Making

A student blog for Math 189AH: Making Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College

Author: Nora O’Connor

  • Making Math with Nora!

    Making Math with Nora!

    I had so much fun in this class and learned how to do lots of new things! As a non-math major it was really great to have some set time for doing math-related things. I also finally got shop certified and learned how to use the laser cutter. Here are the projects I did! PENROSE…

  • wallpaper groups box PART 2!!!

    wallpaper groups box PART 2!!!

    For the final project of this class, I wanted to try and make some more progress on the wooden box i was trying to illustrate the wallpaper groups on. When I left off, I had built the box, but need to cut it open using the bandsaw and then also install panels inside to allow…

  • Using the Fourier Transform to Generate Audio Responsive Visuals!

    Using the Fourier Transform to Generate Audio Responsive Visuals!

    For this project, I wanted to learn more about the fourier transform, and use it to generate visuals that respond to different frequencies. I did this in a mostly exploratory way which was super fun! The fourier transform can take a time based signal of some type and output the frequencies present within it. I…

  • wallpaper groups box!

    wallpaper groups box!

    For this project, I wanted to build a small wooden box using the HMC wood shop (which I’d never been to before!) and then illustrate the 17 wallpaper groups on it. The wallpaper groups are a group theory concept. A wallpaper is a repeating image that can cover a plane. It has certain isometries that…

  • flowers and bubbles !

    flowers and bubbles !

    we made surface-minimizing bubbles and also added some more to our penrose tiling! Neither project had a huge learning curve, but it was fun to learn about a new math concept and do tactile things! first flowers Nora introduced me to the topic of Penrose tilings and I thought the math behind them was super…

  • flower pressing a penRose tiling 🌸

    flower pressing a penRose tiling 🌸

    We decided to create a Penrose tiling using flowers and leaves for our Project 0A. A Penrose tiling uses two different tiles: a 108° rhombus and a 144° rhombus. These two different tiles come together to create an aperiodic tiling ( We used this photo as a reference for our Penrose tiling: We decided on…

  • Project Ideas

    Project Ideas

    These are some project ideas that we (Ashley, Nora, and Margaret) are excited about! 1. Flower Tilings This project seems interesting because our group was talking about combining flowers with mathematics. I’ve (Ashley) been really into flower pressing and drying for the past couple of years and have seen that flowers can be related to…