A confession: I am a wanna-be-geek. I love math and science, and in my career as a finance executive I used and explained numbers every day. I’ve seen every episode of The Big Bang Theory at least twice. Godel, Escher, and Bach is one of my favorite books of all time. I find it fascinating that math is the foundation of much of the beauty in nature, such as snowflakes and the spirals of seeds in sunflowers.
So I was thrilled to find Patterns of the Universe: A Coloring Adventure in Math and Beauty. This newly-published adult coloring book is a collaboration between writer Alex Bellos and artist Edmund Harriss and adds a bit of braininess to the relatively simple act of coloring while keeping the stress-relieving benefits.
Besides providing a great relaxing activity, the publisher says that this book will also help you see that math isn’t just about numbers – that it is also physically and thoughtfully beautiful. I agree: when I am coloring a pattern, I really get to know its lines and curves. I also start to see how it was designed = which is in a way doing math without doing any of the drudgeries, such as calculations. And when you color an illustration, you are creating within defined boundaries (the lines); this is exactly what mathematicians do.
The illustrations in this book are stunning, and each includes an easy-to-understand explanation of the math behind it. For the “keeners” like me, there are 13 bonus activities at the back of the book including a guide for creating your own unique designs. Here’s one I have completed:
If you are trying to convince a numbers person or brainiac in your life to join the adult coloring fold, Patterns of the Universe would make a perfect gift, even if that person is a kid (at least 8). The 144 pages include 65 single-sided illustrations so you can use any marker, pencil or pen, but do slip a sheet of paper behind each drawing if you are using alcohol-based markers (to learn why, check this post). At 8″W x 8″ L x 1/2″D, it is on the smaller side and reasonably portable.
Do you have any favorite types of illustrations that you love for more than their ability to relax you? Let us know in the comments below!