Everything Spins!

If I could marry a dead man it’d be the Italian mathematician, Fibonacci*. In the 10+ years I’ve known about the golden mean, my giddiness at spotting a spiral in nature has not waned at all. In fact, it’s increasing. The consistency of mathematical patterns within the universe are like the legendary sirens to me…only I don’t think this will kill me.

A few weeks ago, at work, I was experimenting with simple motors. I wanted to give the students who were building chain-reaction contraptions multiple ways to get things moving. We had a few options for motors, but motors only produce spinning motions. What if the students wanted to move something up-and-down or side-to-side? After some research, I made a personal discovery. Everything starts with a spinning motion! Even “servos” and “stepper motors”, which produce back-and-forth linear movements, are actually just spinning motors that turn on and off, switching directions each time. I was thrilled to think that every mechanized movement I can think of originates as a spin. That evening I began a brainstorm of every spinning, spiraling thing I could think of.

I decided I had to begin writing about spirals.

You won’t believe this. The first SIX blog titles I chose where already taken. Everythingspins. Spinningworld. Spirals. Spin. Spinning. Spiraling. Taken. Taken. Taken! Actually, “ilovespirals” was still available, but I was miffed at that point. Who (and where?!) are all these spiral-loving people? A brief google search landed me dozens of book and documentary titles. With a deep sigh, I realized my spiral plans had already been carried out. Numerous times over. By people who are much more than just casual enthusiasts for spirals. I decided to table my plans.

Then, a day ago, I emptied some of my sprouting garbanzo beans onto a salad. Usually a garbanzo sprouts’ first root is straight. But sitting there on top of my spinach mount was a cork-screw spiral staring right back up at me. I took it as a sign.

Ok, maybe the fact that I haven’t posted anything on this blog since the first of January is a good indication that I should not start up a second blog. On the good advice of a friend, I will simply use my already-existing blog to broadcast my admiration for Mother Nature’s geometry skills. Here are some spiral photos I’ve taken in the past year:

*note: It is not a Mormon belief or practice to marry one’s self to a deceased person. I recently had some interesting conversations about misconceptions concerning my faith, and what exactly goes on inside LDS temples. Just wanted to hedge any further miscommunication. My tongue-in-cheek fantasizing of a relationship with this brainy dude who lived in the 12th century was just an effort to reel in the attention of my 5 trusty blog followers. But, honestly, my knees do go week for nerdy mathematicians and scientists.

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5 Comments on “Everything Spins!”

  1. Theresa says:

    I love this post, Ani! And yes, you peaked my interest 😉 please, let’s go on a hike soon!

  2. Wendy says:

    Those are some really beautiful pictures! I always look forward to your blog posts because of your delightful insights. Your post script really cracked me up.

  3. Caitlin says:

    There have to be some nerdy mathematicians out there for you to marry. I don’t think they all lived in the 12th century. Just go hang out at the Talmage building on BYU campus 🙂

  4. lorflor says:

    Oh excited to know about your blog!

  5. lorflor says:

    and your photography is AMAZING.


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