IMAGES: Cookie-Cutter Math

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Science  23 Oct 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5389, pp. 587
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5389.587a

The works of Dutch artist M. C. Escher, the Tetris video game, and many bathroom floors have more in common than you might think: Each involves tessellations, or repeating patterns of identical closed shapes (one of Escher's designs is shown here). Totally Tessellated serves up an introduction to this century-old branch of mathematics, covering concepts like angles, polygons, and periodicity, and notes where tessellations arise in science—in particular, in x-ray crystallography ( The site also offers a great collection of tessellated art—from the designs of Piet Mondrian to ornate Islamic mosaics—as well as templates for making tessellations and a glossary. Totally Tessellated was designed by high school students for an educational contest called ThinkQuest that's inspired a host of spiffy new Web sites. Check out more entries on everything from the Amazon rainforest to “Designer Genes” at

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