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Hexahexaflexagon to be demystified by crafty mathematicians

Modular origami. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

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Want to learn how to fold an origami octahedron, knit a mathematical knot, build a fractal sculpture, make a mobius strip and flex a hexahexaflexagon.

Not sure what that is? No problem, says a pair of mathematicians from the University of Canterbury.

Dr Jeanette McLeod and Dr Phil Wilson are hoping to show people the fun side of maths at the Martinborough Maths Craft Day next Sunday.

Maths Craft started three years ago by accident as a non-profit initiative to engage people in mathematical crafts – more than 1800 people attended one of their events at the Auckland Museum.

“We wanted to create an event for the general public to show the connection between maths and crafts,” McLeod said.

A Menger Sponge made from 72 origami Sonobe units.

“We both like knitting and we both like math.”

They wanted to bring the event to the regions too, and now they’ve made it.

McLeod said many people thought maths was “boring” but it is in fact a “highly creative field”.

The event is for people interested in crafts and doing things with their hands while learning about mathematics.

“The activities we’ve picked are ones that have math concepts in them and are entry level crafts,” she said.

“We feel the craft helps show some of the playfulness.”

Maths is about more than numbers and algorithms, Wilson said.

“It teaches you how to think and how to create an argument. These are things which are really sought after in the workplace.”

He said the event would appeal to people of all ages and help them to better understand mathematical concepts.

Special guests will include Dr Eugenia Cheng, a visiting author, pianist and scientist, who earned a PhD in pure mathematics from the University of Cambridge.

Martinborough Maths Craft Day is a free entry event and will run from 10am to 5pm in the Martinborough Town Hall in the Waihinga Centre. More information can be found at mathscraftnz.org

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