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.

CC: Wikipedia user NiabotThese 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.

Downloads

We'll be adding downloadable resources to this website shortly. Please check back here for downloadable worksheets, posters and related fractal activities.

Who is taking part?

Below is a map showing locations where people have expressed an interest in running a MegaMenger build. If you’d like to join in and help, or run a MegaMenger build somewhere else, please get in touch or fill in the form below.

Manchester, UK; Venue: Museum of Science and Industry, Liverpool Road. Build dates: 25th and 26th October (one level 3 sponge per day!) Open to the public; activities and worksheets available. To get involved, come along on the day or contact info@megamenger.com. Printing provided by Hobs Studio; part of the Manchester Science Festival (supported by Siemens) London, UK New York,NY USA; Venue: MoMath National Museum of Mathematics. Build dates: October 25 only - Open to the public. To get involved, contact laurataalman@gmail.com. San Francisco, CA USA Preston, UK Newcastle, UK US Air Force Academy, CO USA Columbus, OH USA Salem, OR USA Grand Rapids, MI USA Naperville, IL USA Boston, MA USA Decatur, GA USA; Venue: Agnes Scott College, Decatur. Build dates: October 20-26 - Open to the public. To get involved, contact rbayless@agnesscott.edu. Salt Lake City, UT USA Tasmania, Australia Leeds, UK Birmingham, AL USA; Venue: Odenville Middle School, Odenville. Build dates: Afternoons in October (3-5pm); public build on October 25. To get involved contact wilderlab@gmail.com. Bath, UK Brighton, UK Cambridge, UK Philadelphia, PA USA Lexington, VA USA Davidson, NC USA Incheon, South Korea Cairo, Egypt Workington, Cumbria UK; Veune: Lakes College West Cumbria. Build dates: 20th-26th October, with the completed sponge open for viewing until 2nd November. To get involved, contact jamesk@lcwc.ac.uk. Suzhou, China Edinburgh, UK Auckland, New Zealand Almeria, Spain Tampere, Finland Mexico City, Mexico

How can I help?

We've got a number of locations confirmed - if there's one local to you, you can contact the organiser to join in. Please use the contacts given in the map above, or email info@megamenger.com to let us know if you're interested, and we'll keep you updated as we get more information. We'll be supplying the organisers with information about how to build the sponge, as well as materials for posters, activities to run nearby and even designs for t-shirts for the team to wear. We'll be putting our worksheets and activities online here shortly.

The cards themselves are going to be printed with several layers of the Menger Sponge already on them, increasing the effective level of the resulting fractal! The total number of cards for the whole project will be around 1.5 million, and they'll hopefully be printed and shipped out to the different locations around the world. We'll also make the design available as a PDF so people can make their own if they wish.

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.

  • Manchester Science Festival
  • MoMath
  • Queen Mary, University of London