I stop by le Musée Curie periodically to see what the current photo expo features. Today it was La Maison des Mathématiques, the discipline that has drastically changed the face of physics, astronomy, chemistry, and our understanding of reality in the course of the past 150 years.
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>> Mathematics has given the world micro-photography and the means to project it.
>> Possession of a womb does not preclude facility with mathematics.

As is obvious from the number of times I have posted blogs about café chairs, the variety of them in Paris astounds me. There are chairs in many shapes and colours, made from a variety of materials: wood, bamboo, metal, plastic, cloth, leather. But it occurred to me that the number of different bent-wood chairs with woven seats and backs is not really surprising: it does not take very many weaves and colours to provide a vast number of choices, not even considering the two dozen or more different chair styles.
I looked at, a company that has been producing hand-made chairs in France since 1920. They offer 30 different basic weaves and more than 30 different colours. By my math (input from anyone who actually understands statistics, or whatever this is, would be appreciated) 10 colours used two at a time would yield 85 combinations of dominant/recessive colours, while 20 colours would yield 375 combinations, and 30 would give 934. Numbers climb rapidly with each additional colour. Now use each combination in a different weave pattern. Whew! Then consider that many patterns use three or more colours, which increases possibilities by a huge factor. No wonder there are so many different woven chairs out there!
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>> Three 2-colour weaves. Imagine each with the colours reversed. Imagine the one on the right with cream, or a third colour, replacing the middle strands of the red verticals and/or horizontals. I think the 30 weaves could have a huge number of variations.
IMG_8944 - Version 2 IMG_8914 - Version 2 IMG_8969 - Version 2 >> Three 3-colour weaves. In the middle, imagine black and white stripes with red dots or red and white stripes with black dots or the opposite colour going up the middle of each stripe or…

Part of the harmony of art is based on mathematics, however unconsciously. A current (until 22Feb15) show at le Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris is a retrospective of the art of Sonia Delaunay (1885-1979. She (and her husband Robert [1885-1941], with whom she worked closely) incorporated circles and other geometric shapes in many rich colour studies, as well as in the clothing and theatre costumes she designed and produced. I plan to return to the museum for another look, especially since photography was not allowed. I was disappointed that there was no postcard of an exquisite winter coat created with undulating bands of autumn browns in bargello stitch. It did not appear in any of the books either.
event: Petit Palais: Sonia Delaunay to 22feb15 DSCN0537
>> Poster for the Sonia Delaunay exposition featuring her signature colour geometrics. I did manage to get one photo in l’exposition before I learned about the ban: this small drawing of figures is from her early years.

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1 Response to Math

  1. Cary Swoveland says:

    Just a note on the math. If there are 10 colours, there are 90 ways to select any two of them in a particular order. The reasoning is that there 10 choices for the first (e.g., dominant) colour, and for each of those choices there are nine choices for the second (e.g., background) colour. So that’s 10×9 = 90 possibilities. If you are selecting three colours from 10, eight colours can be selected for each of the 90 ways the first two colours can be selected, so that would be 90×8 = 720 combinations (i.e., 10x9x8). Four colours would yield 10x9x8x7 combinations, and so on. For 30 colours, there would be 30×29 = 870 ways to select any two colours in order.

    This assumes that red followed by blue is a different selection than blue followed by red, which is what I think you want. If you just wanted to know the number of ways two different colours could be selected out of 10 colours, without reference to which is selected first (e.g, which is dominant), the number of combinations would be 90/2, or 45.

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