Thursday, April 08, 2010

What is Daina Taimina reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Daina Taimina author of Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes, which won the 2009 Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year.

Her entry begins:
I grew up with books. When I was a little girl we lived in an apartment which was shared with several families. My parents were working and I was left home with a neighbor who kindly agreed to keep an eye on me. He was retired professor and to keep me occupied he taught me how to read at the age of 4. Since then I always have piles of books around me. Right now I have about 15 books on my desk and many more on a bookshelf which I have mentally labeled as "must reads."

The book I recently finished was Gilles Deleuze's The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque (1992). The reason I found this book ... was that somebody looking at my crocheted fiber forms told that they reminded her of this book. I was surprised to find passages in this book that indeed express some of the ideas I have created in crochet forms. For example...[read on]
Daina Taimina is Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Cornell University.

Philip Stone, The Bookseller’s charts editor and Diagram Prize administrator, said:
I think what won it for Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes is that, very simply, the title is completely bonkers. On the one hand you have the typically feminine, gentle and wooly world of needlework and on the other, the exciting but incredibly un-wooly world of hyperbolic geometry and negative curvature. In Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes the two worlds collide—in a captivating and quite breathtaking way.
Among the praise for Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes:
[I]t's a superb book on an astoundingly beautiful subject, both in terms of mathematics, physical theories and handicraft. In laymans terms it covers (mostly from a crochet/knitting point of view) the stunning results of writing the equations behind General Relativity into a knitting pattern. It's not as silly as it sounds...knitting patterns are effectively computer programmes for a single strand of wool, and as such are ideal for trying to demonstrate a mathematical idea.... This book takes the simple but highly imaginative step of trying to show Einstein's fourth dimension by writing it into a knitting pattern. The results are extraordinarily beautiful.
--Cool Science Books
Visit Daina Taimina's website and blog.

Writers Read: Daina Taimina.

--Marshal Zeringue