Margaret Wertheim is a science writer and cultural historian who speaks to audiences about the historical significance of the hyperbolic plane and how the handicraft of crochet played a significant role in explaining its existence.
The hyperbolic plane essentially disproves Euclid’s fifth axiom, which previously defined the condition of parallel lines, which says that there is no more than one line that can be drawn through any point that will never meet the original line. ¹
Although the hyperbolic plane existed in theory for over 200 years, it was difficult to prove. It wasn’t until 1997 when Daina Taimina created a physical model that was surprisingly simple. Hyperbolic plane was proven through the media craft of crochet.
In my thinking, Daina Taimina is a role model for taking a common folk art, typically thought of as a feminine art, and using that art form to “verify materially the manifest untruth of Euclid’s axiom.”
Extra/Ordinary: Craft and Contemporary Art
Edited by Maria Elena Buszek
Duke University Press
ISBN electronic: 978-0-8223-9287-3
Publication date: 2011