Saturday, May 10, 2008

Saturday May 10, 2008

MoMA Goes to

"… the startling thesis of Mr. Brosterman's new book, 'Inventing Kindergarten' (Harry N. Abrams, $39.95): that everything the giants of modern art and architecture knew about abstraction they learned in kindergarten, thanks to building blocks and other educational toys designed by Friedrich Froebel, a German educator, who coined the term 'kindergarten' in the 1830's."

— "Was Modernism Born
     in Toddler Toolboxes?"
     by Trip Gabriel, New York Times,
     April 10, 1997


Figure 1 —
Concept from 1819:

Cubic crystal system
(Footnotes 1 and 2)

Figure 2 —
The Third Gift, 1837:

Froebel's third gift

Froebel's Third Gift

Froebel, the inventor of
kindergarten, worked as
an assistant to the
crystallographer Weiss
mentioned in Fig. 1.

(Footnote 3)

Figure 3 —
The Third Gift, 1906:

Seven partitions of the eightfold cube in 'Paradise of Childhood,' 1906

Figure 4 —
Solomon's Cube,
1981 and 1983:

Solomon's Cube - A 1981 design by Steven H. Cullinane

Figure 5 —
Design Cube, 2006:

Design Cube 4x4x4 by Steven H. Cullinane

The above screenshot shows a
moveable JavaScript display
of a space of six dimensions
(over the two-element field).

(To see how the display works,
try the Kaleidoscope Puzzle first.)

For some mathematical background, see

1. Image said to be after Holden and Morrison, Crystals and Crystal Growing, 1982
2. Curtis Schuh, "The Library: Biobibliography of Mineralogy," article on Mohs
3. Bart Kahr, "Crystal Engineering in Kindergarten" (pdf), Crystal Growth & Design, Vol. 4 No. 1, 2004, 3-9

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