Building the largest geometric structure

Several students gathered in the Sorenson Student Center last week as faculty members from the math department assisted students in building the Zome.

The Zome, a multicolored structure consisting of interlocking sticks, and which in its finished state is a four-dimensional sphere, requires its builders to think strategically and in a pattern. It would be the largest mathematical geometric structure ever to be built.

David Richter, a professor of Mathematics from Western Michigan University, along with Kathi Van Wagoner and Robert Williams of UVU’s math department, hosted the activity, offering students a hands-on and inspiring experience to enhance their appreciation of mathematics.

Upon completion, the Zome was approximately 5 feet wide and 5 feet tall.

“Your body is a three-dimensional object and your shadow is flat which has two dimensions,” Van Wagoner said. “[The Zome] is a shadow of a four dimensional object, a compound of 75×16 cells.”

Not only the complexity, but also the beauty of the structure was evident in its appearance.

“I build these because I find them beautiful,” Richter said.

The purpose for building the structure was to give students a hands-on experience for engaged learning in mathematics.

Acknowledging the intricacies of the project, Van Wagoner noted, “[It] is pretty sophisticated, and it would take a long time to explaining all of it.”

As part of Math Week, students had the chance to participate in other mind-bending activities such as Chess and mind-teasers.

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