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Le Labosaïque is an exhibition about the symmetries of the plane and the space, developed by the Laboratoire de Mathématiques Nicolas Oresme, at University of Caen (France). The project started in 2010, and it won the award Prix Musée Schlumberger in 2011.
The exhibition consists on six modules:
- About a thousand pieces for assembling periodic tilings with the 17 crystallographic groups. Besides, a device with a rotating and gliding plate allows to overlap a transparent template and move it around to identify the symmetries of the tiling.
- Two mirrored boxes, one in shape of square and another an equilateral triangle. The interior walls of the boxes are mirrored, and sample patterns are put in the bottom of the box, creating symmetric tilings.
- A hinged mirror, to give the visitor some intuition of why the number of tilings is finite and small.
- A set of "exotic" squares to discover the Crystallographic restriction theorem.
- A thousand pieces to create an aperiodic Penrose tiling.
- Three spherical kaleidoscopes.
The project got support and inspiration from the institute Matematita in Milan (Italy). The spherical kaleidoscopes and mirrored boxes follow the design of those in "Simmetrie e giochi di specchi" an exhibition on display at Dipartimento di Matematica di Milano. The construction of these two exhibits in Caen was done by the milanese wood artisan Tommaso Letteriello.