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Gwen L. Fisher
Department of Mathematics
California State Polytechnic Univ.,
San Louis Obispo

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Baseball Bats, Tetrahedra and Sierpinski

NCB Deposit # 87
  Schematic of project
Proposed Project

Bat Country as of July, 2008 . . .

Photo of initial project

Copyright 2008 Gwen Fisher and Paul Brown.
(All images reprinted with permission. )

"I thought some of you might be interested to see a mathematical art project I am in the process of building.   I am working on a 21' high,  Generation 3 Sierpinski tetrahedron made from 384 baseball bats, 130 baseballs, and about 2000 lbs of steal.

We call it Bat Country.

So far, we have constructed a Generation 2 Sierpinski tetrahedron with 96 bats, shown here with me standing on it. "

g. l. f. 

. . .and as of August, 2008, a Generation 3 tetrahedon
Photograph August, 2008
Gwen is at the top.
. . . and in the desert.
Project at sundown
More photos from Bat Country.

For all viewers . . . .

The tetrahedron is one of five Platonic solids studied at the Academy in Athens.  In the 18th century, Euler added his well-known formula  V + F - E = 2  (Vertices + Faces - Edges = 2 ).  However, it has been chemistry, biology and computer graphics that have brought the study of tetrahedral forms to major prominence in the past century.  Hybrid artists/mathematicians such as Escher joined the pursuit.

In mathematics, the topic falls under the general name of "abstract space." 
As early as 1915, Sierpinski described a "gasket" or a "triangle" with repeated and proportionally reduced areas.  Today these shapes are widely known as "fractals."  Sierpinski's triangles have emerged to be among the most recognizable shapes or patterns in all computer graphics.
Stellated polyhedra
Waclaw Sierpinski
Other Stellated Polyhedra

Other projects in the NCB . . .

"Quilts" based on Cayley table patterns is another project introduced by Dr. Fisher.

Fisher, Gwen L., The Quaternions Quilts, FOCUS, The Newsletter of the Mathematical Association of America,
vol. 25 (4), January, 2005, p. 4.

Diana Venters and Elaine K. Ellison are both mathematicians and avid quilters.
Diana Venters and Elaine Krajenke Ellison, Mathematical Quilts, Key Curriculum Press, 1999.
(ISBN 1-55953-317-X)


More needlework

The NCB thanks Dr. Fisher for Deposit #87. 
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