Articles on Patterns

Mathematics of scale: Big, small and everything in between

What do earthquakes, wealthy Italian families and your circulatory system have in common? Scientists use fractals, self-similarity and power laws to translate from local to global scales.

How analyzing patterns helps students spot deceptive media

Coach students to analyze the credibility of sources, but teaching them how genre and experiential patterns can be manipulated is also relevant.

How the zebrafish got its stripes

Zebrafish are known for their black and gold stripes, but researchers are still figuring out how pigment cells interact to form these patterns.

How animals got their spots and stripes – according to maths

A mathematician has joined the dots between Alan Turing and chasing cells to find out how skin patterns are formed.

Did artists lead the way in mathematics?

Mathematics and art are generally viewed as very different. But a trip through history – from an Islamic palace to Pollock's paintings – proves the parallels between the two can be uncanny.

Fractal patterns in nature and art are aesthetically pleasing and stress-reducing

Fractals are patterns that repeat at increasingly fine magnifications. They turn up in the natural world and in artists' work. Research suggests they contribute to making something aesthetically appealing.

Psychotextiles could be next big thing in fabrics

Welcome to the world of cloths and materials that change depending on your mood.

The maths behind ‘impossible’ never-repeating patterns

Many scientists didn't believe that crystals made up of never-repeating patterns could exist. But they do and scientists are starting to understand the weird maths behind them.

How a simple observation from the 1800s about patterns in big data sets can fight fraud

The first digits of numbers in a data set aren't distributed equally. And now you know more than a lot of fraudsters do – and should – when they're making up their phony numbers.

Patterns are math we love to look at

When you see a repeating pattern, your mind easily imagines it continuing to infinity. There are mathematical rules behind the intriguing visuals.

Why predicting a flu outbreak is like betting on football or flipping a coin

Predicting infectious disease outbreaks is a tricky task to begin with. And it's made harder still by the fact that any individual outcome is subject to unpredictable – or stochastic – effects.

Don’t know how to get your kid to do math? Try patterns

Patterns are simple sequences that repeat over and over again in a certain order. Supporting children's ability to recognize patterns can improve mathematical skills.

Origami: mathematics in creasing

Origami is the ancient Japanese art of paper folding. One uncut square of paper can, in the hands of an origami artist, be folded into a bird, a frog, a sailboat, or a Japanese samurai helmet beetle. Origami…

An icicle’s rippling effect

Canadian physicists have answered the mystery behind how ripples are formed on the surface of icicles, which remarkably have…