Abstract. Vera Spinadel examined a family of positive quadratic irrational numbers, the Metallic Means (golden, silver, copper, etc.) as a basis for design at the Nexus 98 conference.

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The Metallic Means and Design

Vera W. de Spinadel
Center for Mathematics and Design Universidad de Buenos Aires,
ARGENTINA

Golden mean proportions in an ancient mask of HermesIn this paper a new family of positive quadratic irrational numbers is introduced: the family of "Metallic Means". Its most well-known member is the Golden Mean. Other members of the family are the Silver Mean, the Bronze Mean, the Copper Mean, the Nickel Mean, eta. These Metallic Means share important mathematical properties that transpose them into a basic key and constitute a bridge between mathematics and design.

Modern research in mathematics, usually conceived of as a highly structured system, has uncovered unsuspected channels that one may follow and try to interpret fractal geometries, so common in natural systems and human, animal and plant morphology, or to look for universal roads that indicate the onset to chaos, present in phenomena that go from DNA microscopic structure to the cosmic macroscopic galaxies. In this richness lie numerous contact points between mathematical tools and their application to creative design. The Metallic Means Family is one such tool and their many interesting properties will help us in the future to travel the difficult roads that connect one field of human knowledge with another, overcoming the isolation of specialties and resuming the global, Renaissance approach to problem resolution, more affine to the thinking of the twenty-first century.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Vera W. de Spinadel is a Full Consultant Professor at the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Urbanism at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is the Director of the research centre Mathematics and Design, which comprises a team of interdisciplinary professionals working on the relations amoung Mathematics and Informatics with Design, where the word "design" is understood in a very broad sense (architectonic, graphic, industrial, textile, image and sound design, etc.). She organizes the International Conferences on Mathematics and Design (MyD). She is the author of several books and has published many research papers in international journals. She has received several research and development grants as well as several research and technological production prizes.

 The correct citation for this paper is:
Vera W. de Spinadel, "The Metallic Means and Design", pp. 141-157 in Nexus II: Architecture and Mathematics, ed. Kim Williams, Fucecchio (Florence): Edizioni dell'Erba, 1998. http://www.nexusjournal.com/conferences/N1998-Spinadel.html

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