Colorful multiplications

March 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Did you own an abacus as a child? I did, but nobody ever bothered to explain it to me, so the colorful beads representing numbers remained a mystery and I never managed to perform any arithmetic functions on it. Thankfully, Stefanie Posavec revisited the concept of replacing numbers with colors, in a much more user-friendly way.

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She explores the hidden patterns in multiplication of large numbers, and together with Hadrien Jouet they created multiplication waterfall, an online application for you to experiment with. You just insert the numbers and it does its mathematical magic. It translates the abstract patterns that mathematicians recognize into beautiful patterns of colors and shapes, for us laymen.

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