10th March 2000 at 00:00
Under the fractal microscope

Fractals are mathematical sets with intricate and beautiful structures at the point when maths becomes art, and the Fractal Microscope is a tool for exploring these shapes. Mixing art with mathematics to demonstrate that equations are more than just a collection of numbers can help alter students' ideas that mathematics is dry and inaccessible. The site is hosted by the National Centre for Supercomputing Applications.


Picasso's Guernica examined

Trying to understand creativity is a better bet than just standing in awe in front of a work of art. Picasso's Guernica is one of the achievements of the 20th century. The bombing of Guernica was an event that prefigured the savagery and indiscriminate nature of modern warfare. This site, the work of a devotee, attempts to increase understanding of this piece of art.

Be creative, right now

This looks at creativity as though it is something you need to practise regularly like press-ups. There is some very sensible advice, like keeping a journal, jolting the mind out of set routines. None of the advice is too outlandish, and the section on inspirational quotations is particularly good.

Einstein a-go-go

Time magazine chose Einstein as its man of the century and when you look at this site it's easy to see why. Produced by an enthusiast, it collects together links to other sites. Einstein's mind wandered far away from his discipline and he let his imagination move freely. Take this quote: "When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge."


Once you snap, you can't stop

San Francisco's Exploratorium hosts many innovative experiments and never loses touch with reality and fun. It is vey Blue Peter (make a camera out of a Pringles crisps tube), but will intrigue upper primary pupils, and provide useful lessons about our love of images and how they are created.

www.exploratorium.eduscience_explorer pringles_pinhole.html

The evolutionary art of Steven Rooke

The concept of Artificial Life has captured the imaginations of many thinkers. Rooke has applied some of the thinking to art. The images on the site have not been painted, but have been grown. Algorithmic art is computer-generated artwork that derives from mathematical functions or programs, as opposed to being drawn or painted by hand or by scanning in photographs. In "true" algorithmic art, the artist does not retouch the image in any way. All the work goes into setting up the process that produces the image.


The Cortland Review

Traditionally some of the most interesting writing has come out of little magazines. The Internet has meant that many of these reviews have sprung up as they are freed from print bills and distribution problems. The Cortland Review is a good example of the kind of work that such titles can put out.

Fonts of all knowledge

We are so used to looking at print that sometimes we cease to see it and only absorb the ideas it represents. The advent of DTP and word processing has brought about a massive change in the way that we represent letters on pages or screen. Here, you can get into the creation of fonts as well as linking to sites where you can obtain additional fonts.

The strange world of Escher

What you see is not what you get with Escher - a Dutch artist who specialised in spatial illusions, bizarre buildings, repeating patterns. The intricate tessellations and mathematically complex spatial constructs capture the imagination as well as intrigue. It would be possible to do some collaborative work around this artist. Jack Kenny

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