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Celestial Tapestry

The Warp and Weft of Art and Mathematics

Nicholas Mee



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Oxford University Press
27 November 2020
Artists and scientists view the world in quite different ways. Nevertheless, they are united in a search for hidden order beneath surface appearances. The quest for eternal geometrical designs is also seen in the sacred mathematical patterns created by the world's great religions. Tibetan monks fashion chalk mandalas representing the emergence of order in the universe. Moslem architects wrap their buildings in elaborate abstract tessellating designs. Celestial Tapestry places mathematics within a vibrant cultural and historical context. Threads are woven together telling of surprising influences that pass between the Arts and Mathematics. The story involves intriguing characters: the soldier who laid the foundations for fractals and computer art while recovering in hospital after suffering serious injury in the First World War; the mathematician imprisoned for bigamy whose books had a huge influence on twentieth century art; the pioneer clockmaker who suffered from leprosy; the Victorian housewife who amazed mathematicians with her intuition for higher-dimensional space.
Imprint:   Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 207mm,  Width: 164mm,  Spine: 22mm
Weight:   488g
ISBN:   9780198851950
ISBN 10:   0198851952
Pages:   336
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Nicholas Mee studied theoretical physics and mathematics at the University of Cambridge, where he gained his PhD in particle physics. He has authored numerous multimedia titles including The Code Book on CD-ROM with Simon Singh and Connections in Space with John Barrow, Martin Kemp and Richard Bright. He has played key roles in several significant science and art projects including the European SCIENAR project and the 2012 Henry Moore and Stringed Surfaces exhibition at the Royal Society. He is author of the award-winning popular science books Higgs Force: Cosmic Symmetry Shattered and Gravity: Cracking the Cosmic Code, as well as The Cosmic Mystery Tour, published by Oxford University Press in 2019.

Reviews for Celestial Tapestry: The Warp and Weft of Art and Mathematics

Nicholas Mee skilfully weaves together art, science, history and myth to show us the intricate and enchanting patterns that the universe provides and that we as humans discover and celebrate. An engrossing and highly readable tour through both time and space. * Ross King, author of Brunelleschi's Dome and Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling * In his Celestial Tapestry, Nicholas Mee has woven for us a richly illustrated warp and weft of mathematical ideas, displayed in a rich variety of pictorial forms. He also loves storytelling - the tapestry takes centuries to take shape, though the retelling of it is at a veritable whirlwind of a pace. Symmetry, combinatorics, spirals, labyrinths and the construction of the cosmos all appear in their ancient, Islamic and western episodes. * Professor Tom McLeish, University of York * Celestial Tapestry is an invaluable overview of what we know about art and science, and the myriad great minds throughout history that wove our knowledge. Dr. Mee's strength is bringing the people of the past alive, and the history of art and science is brilliantly condensed here into a book that summarises the last two thousand years of human development. * Mark Sheeky, The Barracks Trust Award Winner *

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