Modeling Buckyball Molecules with African Hexastrip Weaves
Paulus Gerdes, professor of mathematics in
Mozambique, has studied the use of hexagonal weaving patterns in Africa and indigneous cultures elsewhere
(India, Brazil, Malaysia, etc.). He found that this weaving technique could also be used to model the
hexagonal patterns in large carbon molecules called "buckministerfullerenes" (named after the inventor of
geodesic domes, R. Buckminster Fuller). They are often called "buckyballs" for short. This website will show
you how to make these indignenous weave models yourself using paper, tape and scissors.
Indigneous "sepak" (Malaysian soccer ball)
Buckyball molecule C60
The paper model you will build!
Mathematician Paulus Gerdes is former Vice-Chancellor of the "Universidade Pedagogica"
(1989-1996, Mozambique) and president of the International Study Group on Ethnomathematics.
Among his books published in English are "Geometry from Africa: Mathematical and educational
explorations" (The Mathematical Association of America, Washington, 1999), and "Lusona:
Geometrical Recreations of Africa" (L'Harmattan, Paris, 1997). His email is email@example.com.
The picture to the right shows him with his daughter Likilisa. Gerdes named his most recent
mathematical patterns "Liki" after her.