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Patterns in Nature: Taking a Deeper Look Into The Mathematics That Surround Us

February 27, 2018

I took a trip to the Museum of Science in Boston, MA for a member's preview of a new exhibition exposing the bases of mathematical patterns found in our everyday lives.  This temporary exhibition, called A Mirror Maze: Numbers in Nature, officially opened to the public on February 4th, 2018 and will be up until April 25th, 2018. 

While the main feature of this exhibition is, indeed, a 1,700-square-foot led-lit mirror maze, there are several interactive exhibition stations placed around the exterior of the enclosed maze. These stations further explore such mathematical patterns as fractals, the golden ratio, and the Voronoi patterns, to name a few, in relation to plants, animals, insects, the human body, mountains, and even planets.  One example the museum used to highlight the relationship of patterns is with the planet Saturn, which follows the rules of the golden ratio. The overall distance of the planet to its rings is proportionate to the distance of the outer rings to the inner rings [Fig. 1]. 


The mirror maze is constructed out of angled rectangular panes of mirrors. Dead ends and rabbit holes are easy to end up in as a result of the infinite space created by the cluster of mirrors. Small children playfully run wild as their parents frantically try to determine the difference between their physical child and the infinite reflections of said child. LED lights are strung along the floor, lighting the space in hues of green, blue, and purple. 


To learn more about this exhibition, go ahead and click here


[Fig. 1: Saturn and its rings follow the golden ratio]

[Fig. 2: Exhibition attendant watches over the children playfully avoiding their parents in the infinity maze.]

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