Marc Chamberland and Chris French

Professor of Mathematics
Grinnell College
Grinnell, Iowa

Most people view mathematics as a collection of tools and procedures and get mired in the mechanics. Mathematical art communicates the essential beauty found in mathematics. As G. H. Hardy wrote, "The mathematician's patterns, like the painter's or the poet's must be beautiful; the ideas, like the colors or the words must fit together in a harmonious way. Beauty is the first test: there is no permanent place in this world for ugly mathematics."

Lorenz Attractor in Flow
12cm x 12cm x 12cm
3D Printer

The Lorenz attractor is the limiting set of a three-dimensional system of

differential equations modeling atmospheric convection. Discovered by Ed

Lorenz in 1962, this set has become an attractive symbol for chaotic

dynamics. The art work was created by modifying Mathematica code developed

by Knill and Slavkovsky. An important new component was to have the curve

which generates the shape continuously change color. This allows the observer

to see the flow of motion as the attractor is generated.