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Update on the Sierpinski Tetrahedron

   Monday, February 25th, 2008 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

Four together create the next stageAt the beginning of the month, the Children's Room announced they would be building a large Sierpinski Tetrahedron (read more) throughout February.

Now that we're down to the last week of the month, final assembly has begun. And it's huge.

Support for the project has come from kids, adults and staff, and volunteers are gluing together stage 1 and 2 tetrahedrons into stage 3 and 4 tetrahedrons (see an illustration of stages 0 through 3). And finally on Thursday (2/21), a stage 5 tetrahedron was assembled - that's 1,024 individual tetrahedrons!

It stands well over three feet high, and takes up two tabletops. Additional assembly work is being done in the McCarthy Meeting Room and the Library's lobby, where the stage 5 is on display.

Stop by the library to see the progress and assemble a few of your own tetrahedrons, and see more of the tetrahedron photographs on our flickr account.

childrens, crafts, math, paper, programs, pyramid, pyramids, sierpinski, tetrahedron, tetrahedrons

   Posted in Childrens, Events | No Comments »




What's Math Got To Do With It?

   Saturday, February 2nd, 2008 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

Stage 2 Sierpinski PyramidThroughout the month of February, stop by the Library to help build Sierpinski tetrahedrons.

A tetrahedron is a pyramid with three sides and a base. A Sierpinski tetrahedron is a repeating pattern of small pyramids assembled into ever larger pyramids. A single tetrahedron is called stage 0; a pyramid of four tetrahedrons is stage 1; the pyramid shown in the picture, consisting of 16 individual tetrahedrons, is stage 2.

Pre-cut colored paper, tape, and instructions are located at stations around the library. Patrons are encourage to fold a few tetrahedrons of their own, and leave them in the bins at each station.

No mathematical knowledge is necessary. Just enjoy the shapes, the symmetries and the similarities you find.

Please make some each time you visit in February, because the goal is a stage 6 pyramid - 4,092 individual tetrahedrons! We will need the help of many teens, and children ages 10 and older, as we put all the small tetrahedrons together during February vacation to make a giant structure.

This project is named for Waclaw Sierpinski, a Polish mathematician. While researching set theory, he developed a Sierpinski Triangle, which is an example (as is our tetrahedrons) of a self-repeating set of shapes. Notice in the picture how the overall pyramid looks like a bigger model of the smaller yellow or blue or red sets, which are themselves pyramids just like an individual tetrahedron.

If you have questions or need help, tape, or more pre-cut paper, please ask at any desk in the library.

childrens, crafts, math, paper, programs, pyramid, pyramids, Sierpinski, tetrahedron, tetrahedrons

   Posted in Childrens, Events | No Comments »