Medieval Mosques Illuminated by Math

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Magnificently sophisticated geometric patterns in medieval Islamic architecture indicate their designers achieved a mathematical breakthrough 500 years earlier than Western scholars, scientists said on Thursday.

By the 15th century, decorative tile patterns on these masterpieces of Islamic architecture reached such complexity that a small number boasted what seem to be “quasicrystalline” designs, Harvard University’s Peter Lu and Princeton University’s Paul Steinhardt wrote in the journal Science.

Only in the 1970s did British mathematician and cosmologist Roger Penrose become the first to describe these geometric designs in the West. Quasicrystalline patterns comprise a set of interlocking units whose pattern never repeats, even when extended infinitely in all directions, and possess a special form of symmetry.” Source: Yahoo news, (Turkish mosque)

 Historic buildings in the Islamic world are often covered with breathtakingly intricate geometric designs. Both artists and mathematicians have long puzzled over them, wondering how the patterns were created…. In fact, the pattern isn’t random. Steinhardt says if you do the math, you see that it all fits together in predictable way. (source: NPR) Imam shrine in Iran)

Isn’t it just amazing!! This is one of the reasons I love walking in the streets of Islamic Cairo and gazing in the beautiful decorative tiles, just amazing!


2 responses to “Medieval Mosques Illuminated by Math

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