Seeing Math in Nature: Tessellations and Jaguar Spots

The Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill presents "Seeing Math in Nature," a series of workshops during Spring 2021. In this series of workshops you will learn to see, interpret, and recreate the patterns around us. Math is the universal language. The translators will be agaves, trees, rivers, and jaguars, aided by guest scientists and artists. Each session takes a different approach to understanding the functioning of nature, collectively allowing us to see in new ways.


Instructors: Kathy Stoehr, mathematics professor, and Janet Liston, mathematics professor and artist

Over sixty years ago mathematician and Enigma code-breaker Alan Turing came up with a theory for how patterns in nature such as leopard spots, zebra stripes, and honeycombs can be explained by mathematics—a theory that was proven in 2014. Mathematics professors Kathy Stoehr and Janet Liston will lead this fun workshop about the mathematics of pattern-forming and introduce us to tessellataions. They will delve into the math of these patterns, as seen on jaguars, in honeycombs, and some plants—and we'll have hands-on break-out sessions to practice making tessellation patterns. You will come away with a new understanding of the wonders of pattern-development in nature.

Length: 2 hours

Time: 10 am – noon (Arizona/Phoenix time)

Cost: $45 each or $170 for all four of the series


10 a.m. April 10, 2021

Event Contacts

Roseann Hanson