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.
We'll be adding more downloadable resources to this website shortly. Please check back here for downloadable worksheets, posters and related fractal activities.
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: Instructions are now ready for basic building techniques and up to a Level 1 sponge. Level 2 instructions will follow shortly. Click here to download: MegaMengerBasicBuildingInstructions.zip (2.7MB)
Video: We've made a video of the basics of Menger Sponge construction, which can be found here.
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.
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 email@example.com.
Printing provided by Hobs Studio; part of the Manchester Science Festival (supported by Siemens)
Build dates: TBC. To get involved, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
New York, NY USA
Venue:National Museum of Mathematics, E 26th St
Build dates: October 25. Open to the public. To get involved contact Laura Taalman on email@example.com.
San Francisco, CA USA
Venue: The Paper Tree, Buchanan Mall
Build dates: 20-26 October (during opening hours, with extended hours at the weekend). To get involved, contact Vicky and Linda: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Glassboro, NJ USA
Level 2 build: Rowan University Math Team
Venue: Herschel Building, Newcastle University
Build dates: 23rd-25th October. To get involved, contact Rosie Mellors: Rosie.Mellors@newcastle.ac.uk.
Colorado Springs, CO USA
Venue: Air Academy High School, Carlton Drive
Build dates: TBC. To get involved, contact Colin Adams: email@example.com.
Salem, OR USA
Venue: Ford Hall (2nd Floor), Willamette University
Build dates: 20-26 October. To get involved, contact Josh Laison: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grand Rapids, MI USA
Venue: Calvin College, Grand Rapids
Build dates: 20-26 October. To get involved, contact Randall Pruim: email@example.com.
Boston, MA USA
Venue:77 Massachusetts Avenue, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lobby 10, Cambridge, MA 02139
Organised by OrigaMIT.
Build dates: October 26, 8am-10pm. Open to the public. Finished sponge will be on display in the lobby of Stata Center (Building 32) at MIT until 11/23. To get involved contact YQ Lu on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Decatur, GA USA
Venue: Agnes Scott College, Decatur.
Build dates: October 20-26 - Open to the public. To get involved contact Rachel Bayless: email@example.com.
Salt Lake City, UT USA
Build dates: Oct 24-25. To get involved, contact Evelyn Lamb: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Venue: University of Leeds Conference Auditorium (first floor bar)
Build dates: 20th-24th October. To get involved, contact Rob Sturman: email@example.com.
Birmingham, AL USA
Venue: Odenville Middle School, Odenville.
Build dates: Afternoons in October (3-5pm); public build on October 25. To get involved contact Jim Wilder: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Venue: University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath, BA2 7AY
Build dates: 20th - 26th October. To get involved contact Ben Sparks: email@example.com.
Venue: Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Wilberforce Road
Build dates: 25th October. Open to the public on 25th; workshops being run in schools nearby
To get involved, contact Kristin Coldwell: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sponge cards donated by Victoire Press, Cambridge.
Lexington, VA USA
Venue: Virginia Military Institute, Mallory Hall
Build dates: October 20-26. To get involved contact Meagan Herald: email@example.com.
Davidson, NC USA
Venue: Davidson College, N Main St
Build dates: 20th - 26th October. To get involved contact Donna Molinek: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Incheon, South Korea
Venue: Chadwick International School, Yeonsu District
Build dates: TBC. To get involved contact Andrew Carle: email@example.com.
Venue: Hall D1 in the German University in Cairo - multiple Level 2 builds
Build dates: 18-21 October, 10.30am to 5pm. To get involved, contact Heba Mugahid: firstname.lastname@example.org
Workington, Cumbria UK
Venue: Lakes College, West Cumbria.
Build dates: 20th-26th October, with the completed sponge open for viewing until 2nd November. To get involved, contact email@example.com.
Venue: Dulwich International High School, Renmin Road
Build dates: 23rd-26th October. To get involved, contact Martin Crozier: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Venue: Exact location TBC; University of Edinburgh.
Build dates: TBC. To get involved, contact Julia Collins: Julia.Collins@ed.ac.uk.
Auckland, New Zealand
Venue: Auckland Art Gallery
Build dates: 25-26 October, 10am-5pm. To get involved, contact Nicolette Rattenbury: email@example.com.
Sponsored by the Department of Mathematics, University of Auckland.
Venue: University of Almería, Almería (exact location TBC)
Build dates: 21-25 October. To get involved contact José Luis Rodríguez Blancas: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The team is also running a 2D Sierpinski Carpet fractal build!
Venue: Tampereen lyseon lukio, F.E.Sillanpään katu 7, 33230
Build dates: 23-24 October. To get involved contact Kaarina Ojasti: email@example.com.
Waterloo, ON Canada
Venue: Perimeter Institute, Caroline St
Build dates: 24 October. To get involved contact Marie Strickland: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Roanoke, VA USA
Venue: Wyndham Robertson Library
Build dates: Saturdays in October, 11am-2pm.
To get involved contact Caren Diefenderfer: email@example.com.
Level 2 build: Davidson Institute, Weizmann Institute of Science.
Part of the Martin Gardner Celebration of Mind event on 21st October.
- Level 2 build site
- Level 3 build site
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.