Project 05 – Staff Picks

57 out of 74 students completed Project 05, the Composition with Curves. Broadly speaking, we’re very pleased with the results of your creative research. The results are lovely, intriguing and surprisingly personal. Many of you dove right in to MathWorld and explored some really interesting and challenging territory, despite having (in some cases) limited background in mathematics. Nice work!

Of the students who presented Projects, the average grade was 2.37, with a standard deviation of 0.36. Below are some of our favorites.

One of the most intriguing, unusual and well-engineered projects was this one by Aman Tiwari. Aman sought to simulate a Harmonograph, a device which creates a drawing by moving a pen with multiple pendulums. For context, here’s a video showing a Harmonograph in action:

Aman’s project has lots of great coding patterns worth studying, such as smoothing of the control signals, and dynamic adjustment of the simulation timestep to accomodate performance on different CPUs.

aman tiwari harmo

This outstanding composition by Lexi Yan, exploring Daisy spirals, is a gorgeous design with a supple interaction and a delicious surface.

Lexi Yan composition

John Sprong’s investigation of the Spirograph curves produced this lovely composition, which has an absolutely luscious surface and a liquid-feeling interaction. There’s really careful craft here, and he learned a lot, too.


This design by Sydney Ayers, which uses a grid of astroid curves, is simply killer. It has carefully chosen colors, an enjoyable interaction, and a really interesting flipping between positive and negative forms.


Another appealing project using the astroid curve is this one, by Edward Shin. The relationship between the mouse interaction and the movements of the shapes is puzzling and fun.

Edward Shin composition

Alex Reed was one of perhaps another five or six students in the class who investigated the astroid curve produced from the envelope of a series of ellipses; his design had a mind-bending interaction, and a lively animated quality produced by the addition of some subtle randomness. Zai Aliyu is another student who explored this curve to good effect; her design has the timeless qualities of a good logo.

That said: why did so many of you explore this one particular shape? MathWorld has hundreds of curves….


In addition to the above, we’d also like to shout-out additional thanks to David Frank, Marantha Dawkins, Hannah Levesque, Rachel  Baker, and Maggie Mertz for their especially innovative and lovely submissions for Project 05.