Deviant Login Shop  Join deviantART for FREE Take the Tour


Submitted on
February 26, 2007
Image Size
91.8 KB


40 (who?)


Creative Commons License
Some rights reserved. This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Thue-Morse in rabbit land by markdow Thue-Morse in rabbit land by markdow
"So natralists observe, a flea
Hath smaller fleas that on him prey,
And these have smaller fleas that bite 'em,
And so proceed
ad infinitum." Jonathan Swift

"Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite 'em,
And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum.
And the great fleas themselves, in turn, have greater fleas to go on,
While these again have greater still, and greater still, and so on."
Augustus De Morgan

An infinite dissection of the plane by logarithmic spirals.

There is a nice bistable perception in the animation: when I first see it, I percieve a wholistic pattern rotating clockwise and shrinking. But after a short time, I see half the contours as fixed, and the other half rotating (with no shrinking). Try fixating on a single edge point to experience the second percept.

The pattern is the basis of Orthologia trispiralis, and the pattern and transform is the basis for the animation Orthologia twist.

Here's the geeky description. It's a checkerboard division (8x2) of the plane by logarithmic spirals with a pitch of +/- pi/4 radians. The checkerboard is colored (orthogonal to the contours) by the first 2^3 = 8 elements of the Thue-Morse sequence, [0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1]. The relative phase between the two sets of opposite chirality spirals rotates through pi/2 radians; in this example the phase of one set is fixed.


[Broken link: A volume rendering derived from the animation, with the time axis transposed to a third spatial dimension.]

There are no restrictions on use of this image. Claiming to be the originator or owner, explicitly or implicitly, is bad karma. A link (if appropriate), a note to, and credit are appreciated but not required.
Add a Comment:
Seaxwulf Feb 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I'll not betray my ignorance by going to deep into the mathematical aspect of this, which is of course remarkably interesting and inscrutably beyond my ken. I will, however, submit that I have followed your electronic paper-trail in hopes of finding more biographical data concerning the progenitors of this Thue-Morse connection. Specifically, I am fixing to locate information regarding the Morse component. So, where you have primacy of association with this concept it is my hope you might enlighten me, as it goes.
A brief summary at…:

"The Thue–Morse sequence was first studied by Eugène Prouhet in 1851, who applied it to number theory. However, Prouhet did not mention the sequence explicitly; this was left to Axel Thue in 1906, who used it to found the study of combinatorics on words. The sequence was only brought to worldwide attention with the work of Marston Morse in 1921, when he applied it to differential geometry."

So Prouhet looked at it, Thue formally defined it and found some pure math applications, and Morse showed it applied to an area of mathematical physics (and therefore modern physics).

History and naming conventions leave out many between. It is a nice short idea, for which a mathematical background is not needed except for putting it in its place within formal systems.
Seaxwulf Feb 23, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes. I did read that, thank you. No further biographical details on Morse, then? That's a pity! Thank you, though, for taking the time to help me out!
I just found this biographical summary of Marston Morse:

Seaxwulf Feb 26, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist

Oh, now thanks so much! See, I happen to belong to the Morse Clan, as it goes, and it's always fascinating to see others of the name floating around. We aren't a well-connected family and seem to find ourselves where we least expect it. Thanks again, at any rate! All the best to you and your endeavours!

Also see my reply to myself on the 'T-M in RL' page.
A bit more, with original reference, from The ubiquitous Prouhet-Thue-Morse sequence, John-Paull Allouche and Jeffrey Shallit:

Morse rediscovered the sequence in connection with differential geometry. He proved the following:

"On a surface of negative curvature having at least two different normal segments there exists a set of geodesics that are recurrent without being periodic and this set has the power of the continuum."

M. Morse, Recurrent geodesics on a surface of negative curvature, Trans. Amer. Math. Soc. 22 (1921), 84-100.

[This was soon after General Relativity showed that the shape of the structure of our space was not trivial and had a direct bearing on physics.]

[I love that phrase, "power of the continuum".]
vidthekid Sep 20, 2007  Hobbyist Digital Artist
If I'd thought of this, I'd have used a simple alternating sequence instead of that Thue-Morse thing. But now I see that the apparent uneven spacing of the spirals resulting from that sequence gives the piece an overall more dynamic appearance.
... mezmerizing

you made that in mathlab?
Ive heard lots ive good things about it... I only have mathematica...

Add a Comment: