Disney's "Tangled" and Beautiful Mathematics


Walt Disney Pictures

Did I not say that science can be beautiful?

Consider Disney's latest animated film, "Tangled." How does one simulate human hair, taking into account sheen and reflection of light, not to mention bending? In the earlier days of animation, these drawings were done by hand by masters of the craft. Now, the images can be generated by computer algorithms. The answer is beautiful mathematics, thanks to mathematicians at Columbia University and the Free University of Berlin.

As reported in The New York Times
Beautiful math:

What he and others mean when they refer to work as "principled" or "beautiful" is that the images on screen are not the result of a patchwork of technical tricks, but of precise mathematical equations based on the way the world actually looks and operates -- in a word, physics. They use what is known as discrete differential geometry, a field so new that the first textbook on the subject was published only two years ago.

Anyone having struggled to solve complex mathematical equations can view this as an example of something beyond numbers and variables: wonderment and beauty.


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That's not just another amazing Disney film.
It's humbling to recognize the beauty of mathematics.
Imho, it's an art, formulated for perfection. Happy New Year!