Mathematics is everywhere. It is in the objects we create, in the works of art we admire. Although we may not notice it, mathematics is also present in the nature that surrounds us, in its landscapes and species of plants and animals, including the human species. Our attraction to other humans and even our mobility depend on it. But how does this happen?
From the structure of buildings to the discovery of new planets, from trade to fashion and new technologies, mathematics has always served as an important tool in the advancement of science and technology, in fields as diverse as Engineering, Biology, Philosophy and Arts. And it is also present in nature, concealing- and revealing- its charms in various forms, intriguing researchers and inspiring poets. One of the ideas that best embodies mathematics in all its elegance is the concept of symmetry.
The nautilus is a surviving species of the archaic subclass of nautoloids which appeared at the beginning of the Paleozoic - long before the dinosaurs and even before the appearance of the first terrestrial animals. The subclass of ammonoids included the extinct species of ammonites - still much appreciated by fossil aficionados - that also displayed the golden proportion in their shells.
According to Graham Smith, a mathematician from IM-UFRJ, "today's physicists believe that the so-called 'cosmological constant' is positive, which means that at the scale of the universe, the cosmos really could be a sphere. It would be a fourth-dimensional space-time sphere - but even so it seems that Plato was not that wrong after all!”
The morphology of comb jellies is not easily explained, but they are beautiful to observe. Their translucent glow changes all the time. The images in the video were filmed at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, USA.
In this video of the American (NASA) and European (ESA) Space Agency, we see a kind of time-lapse of the pulsation of RS Puppis.
Symmetries are everywhere all the time. Just look around to see that they surround us. In addition to endowing our daily life with more grace and beauty, they also have many functions of which we are unaware. Nature hides numbers, equations, and proportions that can be unraveled by anyone who is curious enough. As the celebrated physicist Richard Feynman once said, "knowledge of science only enriches the excitement, mystery, and admiration" for nature. It does not take away its beauty.
Museum of Tomorrow, 2018
Chairman of the IDG Board of Directors: Fred Arruda
CEO: Ricardo Piquet
General Curator: Luiz Alberto Oliveira
Executive Director: Henrique Oliveira
Director of Programming: Adriana Karla Rodrigues
Director of Fundraising: Renata Salles
Director of Scientific Development: Alfredo Tolmasquim
Manager of Content: Leonardo Menezes
Research and Writing: Meghie Rodrigues
Editing: Emanuel Alencar
Eduardo Colli (Department of Applied Mathematics, Institute of Mathematics and Statistics - University of São Paulo) and Graham Andrew Craig Smith (Institute of Mathematics, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro)
Photos and videos: Phillip Maiwald, Marie-Lan Nguyen, H. Zell, Niabot (Wikimedia Commons), NASA/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill, NOAA Photo Gallery, NASA, ESA, G. Bacon (STScI), the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-Hubble/Europe Collaboration, and H. Bond (STScI and Pennsylvania State University)