Artworks dating back to the invention of soap illustrate the wonder of soap bubbles and soap films. Soap bubbles have inspired not only art but also important developments in mathematics and science. Get a fresh perspective on minimal surfaces and their role in art, mathematics, science, and engineering.
Almgren, F.J., and J.E. Taylor. 1976. The geometry of soap films and soap bubbles. Scientific American 235(July):82-93.
Almgren, F., and J. Sullivan. 1992. Visualization of soap bubble geometries. Leonardo 23(No. 3-4):267-271.
Boys, C.V. 1958. Soap Bubbles: Their Colors and Forces Which Mold Them. Dover.
Emmer, M. 1987. Soap bubbles in art and science: From the past to the future of math art. Leonardo 20(No. 4):327-334.
Harris. J. 1987. You can't keep a good bubble down. New Scientist (Dec. 24/31):31-35.
Hildebrandt, S., and A. Tromba. 1996. The Parsimonious Universe: Shape and Form in the Natural World. New York: Copernicus.
Hu, T.C., A.B. Kahng, and G. Robins. 1992. Solution of the discrete Plateau problem. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 89(Oct. 1):9235-9236. Abstract available at http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/89/19/9235.
Isenberg, C. 1992. The Science of Soap Films and Soap Bubbles. Dover.
Pope, H. 1997. Hazelnuts find use in Shakespeare's plays and in his theater. Wall Street Journal (Dec. 11).
Southgate, M.T. 2000. Vanitas still life. Journal of the AMA 284(Oct. 4): 1619. Excerpt available at http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/extract/284/13/1619
Thompson, D.W. 1917. On Growth and Form. Cambridge University Press.
Web links on soap and bubbles:
For a mathematical introduction to minimal surfaces by Hermann Karcher and Konrad Polthier, see http://page.mi.fu-berlin.de/polthier/booklet/intro.html.
For a history of Pears soap, see http://bubbles.org/html/history/bubhistory.htm.
Sculptor and mathematician Helaman Ferguson has a Web site at http://www.helasculpt.com/. Photos of his Costa surfaces and other sculptures can be found at http://www.helasculpt.com/gallery/index.html.
Bubbles at the Exploratorium:
Soaps and Detergents:
Looking at Bubbles:
The Art and Science of Bubbles:
Copyright © 2008 by Ivars Peterson