Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mathematics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people studying math at any level and professionals in related fields. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Anybody know of "serious" mathematical ornaments or toys like the Gömböc, etc?

Already have a rubix and abacus (that's more of a tool though).

share|improve this question
1  
Define "serious." –  Mike Wierzbicki Jan 18 '12 at 4:29
    
I was being lack there, perhaps I should define what I do want by what I don't want; placing the correct shape in the hole, children games and so on. –  Adam Jan 18 '12 at 4:32
8  
You probably mean "lax" in the above comment (somewhat Ironic since in your question statement it probably should be "Rubik's" cube). –  Willie Wong Jan 18 '12 at 10:37

17 Answers 17

up vote 10 down vote accepted

On Shapeways, you can find a variety of mathematical ornaments.

My favorites are the differential geometric surfaces designed by Bachman. I also like Bathsheba's designs as well.

enter image description here

(Sorry the image is so large. Is there a way to reduce the size?)

share|improve this answer

For when the Möbius strip is too pedestrian, the good people at Acme Co. claim their Klein bottles are the "finest closed, non-orientable, boundary-free manifolds sold anywhere in our three spatial dimensions."

share|improve this answer
1  
His book the Cuckoo's Egg is a lot of fun, too. –  Ross Millikan Jan 18 '12 at 6:20

The Rubik cube. ${}{}{}{}{}{}{}$

share|improve this answer
    
Oh yeah obviously I have one of those - I have some with more than 6 faces also, though in the end it's a tougher algorithm. Very nice puzzles though. –  Adam Jan 18 '12 at 4:33

I have a Rattleback at my desk. Fun to fiddle with while thinking.

share|improve this answer

Zometool is a construction kit which has 2-, 3-, and 5-fold symmetry, which is great for building (3D projections of) the 120-cell, or just for playing around.

share|improve this answer
1  
@Adam: Seeing this, I thought of K'nex. Their website doesn't have any info on what symmetries are supported on the home page. I grew up with tinker toys. –  Ross Millikan Jan 18 '12 at 6:17

Wikipedia has a section on mechanical puzzle.

As for myself, my fascination with algebraic topology began with metal link puzzles or hanayama.

Of course, Tower of Hanoi is a classic.

Of interest may be the reference: Adventures in Group Theory: Rubik’s Cube, Merlin’s Machine, and Other Mathematical Toys by David Joyner. Book description in Amazon.

share|improve this answer

Spirograph from Hasbro. You can make lots of famous mathematical curves with its pieces: epicycloids, hypocycloids, etc. MathWorld has an article on some of these curves.

share|improve this answer
    
I love the Spirograph; +1 of course. –  J. M. Jan 26 '12 at 12:12

While it may be a 'children's toy', the Switch Pitch works remarkably well as an object of mathematical sculpture; it's fundamentally based on the fact that the vertices of a regular cube are also the vertices of two (interlocked) regular tetrahedra (if your cube is $\{0,1\}^3$, take the vertices with $i+j+k$ respectively odd or even). It helps that people can't help but fiddle with it; it's been a perfect hand-fidgetting toy for me.

share|improve this answer

Love zometool [1]

[1]: http://www.zometool.com/ for geometry, platonic and archimedean solids, among others/

share|improve this answer

I think there are 2 different toy devices that mimic a Gray code. One can be seen at http://mypuzzlecollection.blogspot.com/2011/12/brain.html. The other is named "Spin Out".

share|improve this answer
    
Also the Towers of Hanoi. –  JeffE May 14 '12 at 7:21

Sudoku and all other logic trainers would also fit.

share|improve this answer

Check Montessori mathematical materials like the binomial cube just google it

share|improve this answer

Origami to fold shapes to find surface area of 3 dimensional shapes. Wooden blocks. The Game of 24. Math Jeopardy. Bucky balls. Sudoku. Computer games with rotations and other types of transformations.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.