What is MegaMenger?
The MegaMenger may be the largest fractal ever built, made out of over a million business cards and encompassing the entire Earth.
A Menger Sponge is a three-dimensional fractal, which can be made by taking a cube and cutting out a square section through the centre in each of the three directions; then each of the resulting smaller cubes is cut out in the same way, and so on until you've removed infinitely many pieces. So each Menger Sponge is made from twenty identical-but-smaller Menger Sponges. This results in an object which has zero volume but infinite surface area!
As a distributed fractal project, twenty Menger Sponge cubes will be in different cities around the world. In each location, volunteers will build 8,000 small cubes out of nearly 50,000 business cards. These will be combined in groups of 20 to create 400 "level one" Menger Sponges. These will also be combined in groups of 20 to make 20 "level two" sponges, which then form one massive "level three" Menger Sponge. The resulting fractal cube will be nearly one and half metres tall.
These twenty level-three Menger Sponges around the planet would then form a distributed level-four sponge, the largest ever made out of business cards. The plan is for every location to build their level-three sponge during the week of the 20 to 26 October 2014, which includes the Martin Gardner Global Celebration of Mind Gatherings on 21 October. By Sunday 26 October, twenty locations around the globe will have been united in building an amazing 3D fractal.
Supported by Queen Mary University of London
We're pleased to announce that the MegaMenger project is being supported by Queen Mary, University of London. We're also being supported by several other organisations, which are variously donating business cards/printing, and providing host venues for our build sites. Please see the bottom of the page and individual build locations for a full list of organisations.
So far, of the international Level 3 build sites, 17 have completely finished building a Level 3 Menger Sponge and a further 5 are partly completed. We're also counting Level 2 and Level 1 sponges from other locations, which means our total world sponge now adds up to a whole Level 4 sponge!
Current Level 4 progress: 100%
If you've built any size of Menger Sponge and aren't already listed on our map below, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we can include your contribution in the total.
Finished Level 3 sponges (hover to see location info):
Who is taking part?
Below is a map showing locations where people have built parts of the MegaMenger. If you’d like to join in and help, or run a MegaMenger build somewhere else, please get in touch.
Venue: University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath, BA2 7AY
Build dates: 20-24 October
For details, contact Ben Sparks.
Venue: Level 3, JCMB, King's Buildings, University of Edinburgh.
Build dates: 20-24 October.
For details, contact Julia Collins.
Waterloo, ON Canada
Venue: Perimeter Institute, Caroline St
Build dates: 24 October.
For details, contact Marie Strickland.
View a time lapse of the build here.
Venue: Museum of Science and Industry, Liverpool Road.
Build dates: 25th and 26th October
For details, contact Katie Steckles.
Printing provided by Hobs Studio; part of the Manchester Science Festival (supported by Siemens)
Venue: University of Almería, Almería
Build dates: 21-25 October.
For details, contact José Luis Rodríguez Blancas.
Kindly supported by the University of Almeria.
Auckland, New Zealand
Venue: Auckland Art Gallery
Build dates: 25-26 October
For details, contact Nicolette Rattenbury.
Venue: Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Wilberforce Road
Sponge cards donated by Victoire Press, Cambridge.
Colorado Springs, CO USA
Venue: Air Academy High School, Carlton Drive
Build dates: Public build day on Oct 25th.
For details, contact Colin Adams.
Davidson, NC USA
Venue: Davidson College, N Main St
Build dates: 20th - 26th October.
For details, contact Donna Molinek.
Decatur, GA USA
Venue: Agnes Scott College, Decatur.
Build dates: October 20-26
For details, contact Rachel Bayless.
Grand Rapids, MI USA
Venue: Calvin College, Grand Rapids
Build dates: 17-25 October.
For details, contact Randall Pruim.
Venue: Queen Mary University of London, Maths Department foyer
Build dates: Until 15th November.
For details, contact Giulia Campolo.
New York, NY USA
Venue: National Museum of Mathematics, E 26th St
Build dates: 25th October.
For details, contact Laura Taalman.
Salem, OR USA
Venue: Ford Hall (2nd Floor), Willamette University
Build dates: 20-26 October.
For details, contact Josh Laison.
Venue: Dulwich International High School, Renmin Road
Build dates: 23rd-26th October.
For details, contact Martin Crozier.
Venue: Tampereen lyseon lukio, F.E.Sillanpään katu 7, 33230
Build dates: 23-24 October.
For details, contact Kaarina Ojasti.
Roanoke, VA USA
Venue: Wyndham Robertson Library, Hollins University
Build dates: Saturdays in October.
For details, contact Caren Diefenderfer.
Birmingham, AL USA
Venue: Odenville Middle School, Odenville.
Build dates: Afternoons in October (3-5pm); public build on October 25.
For details, contact Jim Wilder.
Venue: University of Leeds Conference Auditorium (first floor bar)
Build dates: 20th-24th October.
For details, contact Rob Sturman.
Workington, Cumbria UK
Venue: Lakes College, West Cumbria.
Build dates: 20th-26th October, with the completed sponge open for viewing until 2nd November.
For details, contact James Kuechel.
Boston, MA USA
Venue: Lobby 10, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139
Build dates: October 26, 8am-10pm. Finished sponge will be on display in the lobby of Stata Center (Building 32) at MIT until 11/23.
For details, contact YQ Lu.
San Francisco, CA USA
Venue: The Paper Tree, Buchanan Mall
Build dates: 20-26 October.
For details, contact Vicky and Linda.
Asheville, NC USA
Venue: Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College
Cullowhee, NC USA
Venue: Western Carolina University
Christchurch, Dorset, UK
Venue: Highcliffe School
Venue: University College School
Venue: Maudland Building Foyer, UCLAN
Build dates: Wednesday 22nd October, with a talk about the mathematics of fractals at 4pm.
For details, contact Charlotte Kestner.
Lexington City, VA USA
Venue: Washington & Lee University
Allendale, MI USA
Venue: Grand Valley State University
Christchurch, Dorset, UK
Venue: Twynham School
Venue: Edina High School - writeup here
Frostburg, MD USA
Venue: Frostburg State University
Glassboro, NJ USA
Built by Rowan University Math Team
Granville, OH USA
Venue: Denison University
Mineapolis, MN USA
Built by Seth Leavitt
Morehead, KY USA
Venue: Morehead State University Dept of Math, CS, & Physics
Salt Lake City, UT USA
Venue: University of Utah, T. Benny Rushing Mathematics Center and Student Union Lobby
Winton-Salem, NC USA
Venue: Career Center High School
Wooster, OH USA
Venue: The College of Wooster
Bourbonnais, IL, USA
Olivet Nazarene University
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Mount Nelson Primary School
Denison, OH, USA
Johor Bahru, Malaysia
Venue: Marlborough College
Venue: Davidson Institute, Weizmann Institute of Science.
Five level 1 sponges built as part of the Martin Gardner Celebration of Mind event on 21st October.
Queen Elizabeth's School - 4 Level 1s built and working towards a Level 2
Ashburn, VA USA
Venue: Eagle Ridge Middle School - three Level 1 sponges
Columbia, SC USA
Built by South Carolina High Energy Mathematics Teacher Circle (SCHEMaTC) - 2 level-1 sponges built
Moomba Park Primary School
Built by Mim & Doug Sanders and family
Austin TX USA
Venue: St. Edward's University
Venue: MathsJam, Cardiff (21st October)
Built by @galwaypens
Greater Philadelphia Paper Pholders
Venue: Cynwyd (R6) Train Station
Harrisburg PA USA
Venue: Dauphin County Technical School
Venue: MathsJam, Lisbon (21st October)
Lyndhurst, NJ USA
Built by Mitch Okun
Venue: Somerset College - built by Andrew Wrigley
Venue: MathsJam, Winnipeg (21st October)
East Haddam, CT
Venue: Franklin Academy - added to NYC build
Kennesaw, GA USA
Venue: Kennesaw Mountain Undergrad Maths Conference, Kennesaw State University
For details, contact Yuliya Babenko.
Sponges from this build were combined with the Decatur build to make one Level 3 sponge.
Venue: Hall D1 in the German University in Cairo - multiple Level 2 builds
Build dates: 18-21 October
For details, contact Heba Mugahid.
Lexington, VA USA
Venue: Virginia Military Institute, Mallory Hall
For details, contact Meagan Herald.
Venue: Taipei European School
Venue: Sir John Leman High School
Ashford, Kent UK
Venue: Highworth Grammar School for Girls
- Level 0 build site
- Level 1 build site
- Level 2 build site
- Level 3 build site
Printable Menger Cards: we now have a downloadable version of the cards for printing. If you'd like to get involved and print some fractal cards yourself, here's some instructions and printable PDFs you can use. Click here to download: MegaMengerPrintingFiles.pdf (4.4MB)
Building instructions: We've included several methods, including those developed by Dr Jeannine Mosely, who has previously built a Level 3 sponge.
Basic Instructions (up to a level-1 sponge): MegaMengerBasicBuildingInstructions.zip (2.7MB)
Level-2 Instructions (to be used in combination with the basic set): MegaMengerLevel-2Instructions.zip (3MB)
Level 3 instruction sheet: MegaMengerLevel-3Instructions.pdf (168KB)
Fractal Activity Sheets: If you want to learn more about fractals, including the Menger Sponge and several other 2D and 3D fractals, here are some activity sheets you can use: MegaMengerFractalActivitySheets.zip (5.5MB)
Bonus worksheet: Constructing a Koch Curve: MegaMengerKochCurve.pdf (108KB)
3D printable Menger Sponges: If you have access to a 3D printer and would like to make your own Menger Sponge using it, here are some designs provided by Laura Taalman: 3D_printable_mengers.zip (1MB)
Who is behind this?
This project is a joint brain-child of Matt Parker and Laura Taalman.
Matt Parker and his Think Maths team previously worked with the Manchester Science Festival to build the world's biggest Domino Computer. They are joining forces again for the Mega Menger, and one of the twenty locations around the world will be the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. The printing for the Manchester Science Festival build has been kindly donated by Hobs Studio.
Laura Taalman is a Professor of Mathematics at James Madison University in Virginia, and an Ambassador for the Mathematical Association of America. This year she is the Mathematician-in-Residence at MoMath, the National Museum of Mathematics in Manhattan, which will also be one of the build locations.
The event will be supported by Manchester Science Festival, which is where one of the builds will be taking place, and MoMath in New York, where another build will be happening, along with other organisations who are hosting or funding local sponge builds. MegaMenger is sponsored by Queen Mary, University of London.