Numbers in Nature: A Mirror Maze
Have you ever looked at the inside of a nautilus and wondered how nature came up with such a perfect pattern? Or wondered why a sunflower’s seeds are in nested spirals? Patterns and numbers hiding in plain sight are all around us, and we invite you to lose yourself in our newest traveling exhibition, “Numbers in Nature: A Mirror Maze.”
At “Numbers in Nature: A Mirror Maze,” you will create, manipulate and experience patterns, exploring the ways nature organizes itself and inspires human designs from the Parthenon in Greece to Denver’s iconic “Big Blue Bear.” The exhibition challenges you to identify patterns in music, art, architecture and even your own body.
Stepping into the mirror maze included in the exhibition is like stepping into a kaleidoscope where you’ll be surrounded by a sea of equilateral triangle chambers. Dead ends are scattered throughout along with secret rooms that reward you with bonus puzzles, imagery and artifacts. The maze itself is a pattern, combining repetition, symmetry and tessellation. How quickly can you navigate your way through the maze?
“This exhibition is unlike anything else we have hosted at the Museum,” said James Hagadorn, Ph.D., curator of “Numbers in Nature: A Mirror Maze.” “The exhibition peels back some of the hidden structures in our surroundings. Through the exhibition, we learn to see patterns in our bodies, in nature and even in our bubble baths!”
Learn about patterns by exploring fractal branching, spirals, Voronoi patterns, the Golden Ratio (φ) and more. In the exhibition, you will also have the opportunity to:
- Step in front of a large mirror and strike poses while surprising proportions are superimposed in real time.
- Measure your wingspan and see how yours compares to Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps and the “Vitruvian Man.”
- Explore a ram’s horn, a nautilus and an ancient squid shell, which demonstrate real examples of patterns in nature.
- Create patterns on a digital screen—connecting dots to draw spirals and adding to a series of Fibonacci rectangles—and see objects that show those same patterns.
- Learn how fractal patterns are used in animation.
- Compose a piece of music using symmetry.
“Numbers in Nature: A Mirror Maze” was created by the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI). This exhibition is made possible in Denver by Harriet S. Rosen.
The exhibition will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with extended hours on Fridays until 9 p.m. through Sept. 19. A special, timed ticket is required for entry. For more information and tickets, visit dmns.org/numbersinnature.
Even More Numbers & Fun
Meet exhibition experts Curator of Geology James Hagadorn, Content Specialist Naomi Pequette and Content Specialist Jennifer Moss Logan. And learn more about the patterns featured in the exhibition.