That Mythic Golden Age
Medieval Muslims made stunning math breakthrough
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Magnificently sophisticated geometric patterns in medieval Islamic architecture indicate their designers achieved a mathematical breakthrough 500 years earlier than Western scholars, scientists said on Thursday.Bite me! They did not! If a monkey types a word at random on a keyboard that doesn't mean it's going to write Hamlet next, because it has no understanding of what it just did.
Modern mathematicians understood what they were deriving, and how the equations described the design, and what the significance of it was.
This artwork is just an interesting geometric design, that in hindsight, happens to vaguely be describable by Penrose tiling.
But Reuters can't miss the opportunity to shovel its propaganda:
By the 15th century, decorative tile patterns on these masterpieces of Islamic architecture reached such complexity that a small number boasted what seem to be "quasicrystalline" designs, Harvard University's Peter Lu and Princeton University's Paul Steinhardt wrote in the journal Science.Of course, whenever wire services talk about the 15th century about the West, they're always talking about how evil we are for harming noble, peaceful indigenous populations -- never anything positive like this fantasy:
Only in the 1970s did British mathematician and cosmologist Roger Penrose become the first to describe these geometric designs in the West. [what, like anybody "described" them elsewhere? -- ed.] Quasicrystalline patterns comprise a set of interlocking units whose pattern never repeats, even when extended infinitely in all directions, and possess a special form of symmetry.
"Oh, it's absolutely stunning," Lu said in an interview. "They made tilings that reflect mathematics that were so sophisticated that we didn't figure it out until the last 20 or 30 years."
Lu and Steinhardt in particular cite designs on the Darb-i Imam shrine in Isfahan, Iran, built in 1453.
While Europe was mired in the Dark Ages, Islamic culture flourished beginning in the 7th century, with achievements over numerous centuries in mathematics, medicine, engineering, ceramics, art, textiles, architecture and other areas.They're advanced, do you hear me, ADVANCED!!!
Lu said the new revelations suggest Islamic culture was even more advanced than previously thought.
My first thought on reading about this "quasicrystalline" breakthrough was it was ridiculous.
Such a view appears down at the bottom of the article:
Joshua Socolar, a Duke university physicist, said it is unclear whether the medieval Islamic artisans fully understood the mathematical properties of the patterns they were making."Unclear", ha, that's a good bit of understatement right there.
"It leads you to wonder whether they kind of got lucky," Socolar said in an interview.
"And it will be a lot of fun if somebody turns up bigger tilings that sort of make a more convincing case that they understood even more of the geometry than the present examples show," Socolar said.
And maybe spacemen built the pyramids!