Original Article From: The Guardian.Words: Alex Bellos
For the past decade, Simon Beck has been decorating the Alps with his stunning mathematical drawings, created by running in snowshoes across freshly laid snow. Each image takes him up to 11 hours to make and covers an area about 100m x 100m, requiring him to travel up to 25 miles as he marks out the pattern.
Simon Beck produces about 30 snow drawings every winter in the northern hemisphere, mostly in the Alps. He started 10 years ago doing it for fun and now it is his main occupation. ‘When you have a blank piece of paper you draw on it,’ he says. ‘So drawing on a blank snowfall seemed like a natural thing to do.’
Many of the images are standard mathematical shapes, such as the Koch snowflake, the Sierpinski triangle and this one, a version of the Mandelbrot set. These three are fractal shapes. ‘I used to do these kind of drawings just for fun on paper.’
The technique only requires a compass and an ability to count. So, if he wants to find the half-way point of a line, he counts the paces along it and divides by two. ‘It takes a lot of practice, but I have these skills as an orienteering map-making expert.’
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