Support Aeon

‘Aeon represents exactly the values that the internet in its purest form is all about. The selfless distribution of wisdom.’

Ben H, UK, Friend of Aeon

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.
But we can’t do it without you.

Give now

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Give now

Blooms 2

4 minutes

The weird wonders of combining 3D printing with the maths of pinecones and sunflowers

Using rotating, 3D-printed sculptures that he displays under a strobe light, the US designer John Edmark, a lecturer in mechanical engineering at Stanford University, creates dynamic ‘blooms’ that look like sophisticated computer-animation exercises come to life. As Edmark explains:

[The] animation effect is achieved by progressive rotations of the golden ratio, phi (ϕ), the same ratio that nature employs to generate the spiral patterns we see in pinecones and sunflowers. The rotational speed and strobe rate of the bloom are synchronised so that one flash occurs every time the bloom turns 137.5º (the angular version of phi). Each bloom’s particular form and behaviour is determined by a unique parametric seed I call a phi-nome (/fī nōm/).

For the video Blooms 2, Edmark used a camera with a very short shutter speed rather than a strobe. The result is both visually and conceptually mindbending – digital art that borrows from nature to both imitate and expand on it.

Get Aeon straight
to your inbox
Join our newsletter
Aeon is not-for-profit
and free for everyone
Make a donation
Essay/
Stories & Literature
Ghosts on the shore

In Japan, ghost stories are not to be scoffed at, but provide deep insights into the fuzzy boundary between life and death

Christopher Harding

Essay/
Stories & Literature
Sweet artifice

Dandies in the age of decadence favoured synthetics over nature, nowhere more so than in perfumery’s fabulous counterfeits

Catherine Maxwell