More Math than Art?
Patterns created by fitting together replicas of the same basic shape are visible in nature and in human design. Examples range from a simple tiled floor or the hexagonal pattern of the honeycomb to the mathematically elaborate mosaics created by M.C. Escher. These patterns are called tessellations.
By strict definition, a tessellation is an arrangement of shapes, closely fitted together without gaps or overlap. “Tiling” is another word that is often used interchangeably to mean the same thing.
As an art form, tessellations are rich in mathematics, particularly geometry!
A Lesson in Geometry
A tangram is a traditional Chinese puzzle consisting of a square cut into seven pieces (tans) that can be arranged into various shapes. A tangram is a set of seven geometric shapes made up of five triangles, a square, and a parallelogram.
Today, nearly 1000 years after its inception, tangrams remain a popular pastime puzzle as well as a teaching aid for many elementary and not so elementary mathematical concepts.
An Astronomical Polygon
On clear nights, we can see the stars as twinkling points of light in the sky. But what exactly are we looking at?
By one definition, a star is an astronomical object consisting of a luminous spheroid of gas, mostly hydrogen & helium, held together by opposing forces of energy.
By another equally valid definition, a star is a self-intersecting, equilateral equiangular polygon.