Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Straight Line That's A Curve? Hyperbolic But True.

It sounds either impossible or something which only lives in the realm of the fantastical, such as that distant and murky realm of Quantum Mechanics in which matter can purportedly exist in two places at the same time.

OFD has found that however impossible problems appear to be or daunting challenges might seem, progress and solutions can often come in a surprisingly simple way: from seeing things from a different perspective.

We sought this ourselves recently, and did what we compel our clients to do on occasion: step away from the problem - and the office - and go seek some inspiration where it matters. For the nature of our problem, we went to The Exploratorium, a brilliant laboratory of ideas which encourages interactivity and literal hands-on learning.

How can something straight fit into a curve?

It was one of the provocative riddles we encountered on an entertaining and thoroughly inspiring field trip.

The answer was simple, with a new perspective. A line rotated in the right plane makes a hyperbolic curve. The hands-on exhibit allowed the viewer to manipulate a steel rod literally through a curve in a piece of plexiglass. The visual evidence was irrefutable yet mind-bending nonetheless.

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