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Math Craft Inspiration of the Week: The Kinetic Wave Sculptures of Reuben Margolin

Reuben Margolin builds large scale kinetic sculptures based off of mechanical waves. Some of his sculptures contain hundreds of pulleys all working in harmony with each other to create sinusoidal waves and their resulting interference patterns. He designs them all on paper and does all of the complicated trigonometric calculations by hand. Everything is mechanical; there are no electronic controllers. 

While only video can do these sculptures any justice, the gallery below contains a few beautiful images of his creations.

The video below shows one of his simplest sculptures. It is composed of a series of concentric rings, all of which are moving in a sinusoidal wave. I find its motion quite mesmerizing.

The next video shows one of his sculptures with more complicated motion.  

The next two videos are longer and form a better introduction to Reuben and his work. The first is well edited, displaying many of his sculptures and explaining briefly how he builds and designs them, as well as what materials he uses. The second is a live talk he gave where he elaborates on his inspirations and ideas, as well as gives a live demonstration of two of his sculptures.

What do you think of Reuben's sculptures? Does anything in this post inspire you? Comment below.

Have a great weekend and if you create any math-related art, please share with all of us on the corkboard. I hope to share community content in a post on Monday.

6 Comments

Absolutely incredible. I think your work is awsome.

Glad you like Reuben's work! I really like the way everything moves in a fairly simple predictable motion but it still looks amazing and complicated.

I'm sure you could build it. But I don't actually know how to build them. You're on your own for these! :)

amazing. thanks for the videos!

You're welcome. I glad you liked the post on Reuben's work. I know the videos make me have the riduclous urge to make some large moving mathematical sculptures...then I realize that my wife would be mad at me for taking up the entire garage! :)

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