On February 15th at Bright Sparks (part of Brighton Science Festival), we created a crocheted hyperbolic coral reef from reclaimed wool, exploring the fascinating geometry that gives these colourful creatures their structures.
Coral needs to maximise its surface area to absorb nutrients from the water, and the way that it grows to achieve that exhibits a hyperbolic structure. Hyperbolic geometry was explored in the 19th century as an alternative to Euclidean space; while in Euclidean space, any line has one parallel which will never cross it, whereas in hyperbolic space there will be many such lines. These structures are very easily modelled using crochet, simply through the application of an iterative recipe, increasing the surface steadily as it grows.
More info can be found from the Institute for Figuring at crochetcoralreef.org