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Enormous Sierpiński tetrahedron made of balloons, take 2


Caroline Ainslie has written in to tell us that she and her associates at Pyraloons are having another go at making the world’s largest Sierpiński tetrahedron… from balloons.

The attempt by Pyraloons last Summer to build an 8,000-piece structure almost worked, but the heat and Perfidious Physics meant that only a quarter of the sculpture could hold itself up.

2013's failed attempt to build a massive tetrahedron

So, having learnt some lessons about how balloons behave under pressure, they’re going to have a second attempt in a cooler March climate this Saturday, the 15th, as part of Cambridge Science Festival. There will be an observer from the Guinness Book of Records on hand to confirm they’ve made the biggest balloon Sierpiński pyramid ever, if they do get their engineering right.

Construction starts at 6am, after which the team will be building 1024 small pyramids, using 2048 balloons, which will make up the 8 metre sculpture. The sculpture is being built as a fundraiser, empowering disadvantaged African children to raise themselves out of poverty, through sustainable education. AIMSSEC, the organisation we support, has already changed the lives of thousands of rural and township children across South Africa and currently reaches over 100,000 children every single year, through sustainable education training. AIMSSEC, the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences School Enrichment Centre is a small, lean organisation that trains over 400 teachers every year, at no cost to them.

The World’s Largest Sierpinski Pyramid attempt is educational to the core and will be facilitating lots of mathematical learning for all visitors to the Grafton Centre.

Caroline says they still need a few more volunteers:

  1. One Witness for Friday Evening between 4pm & 8pm to record activities.
  2. One Witness at all times to cover 6am till completion at midday to record activities.
  3. One Expert University lecturer, mathematician, engineer or surveyor to measure the sculptures’ width, depth and height at midday. They will need to arrive by 10am to make sure we have everything in place to measure it at midday. I will need to have a preparation meeting with them in advance, to make sure any equipment they need is on hand.
  4. At least ten volunteers (preferably maths specialists) from 9am to 5pm to facilitate the hands on mathematical activities being provided for the exhibit’s visitors.
  5. One qualified first aider to be present from 9am to 5am while the exhibit is officially open to visitors.

If you think you can help, email Caroline at

More information

The world’s largest balloon Sierpinski tetrahedron event page at Cambridge Science Festival

Cambridge Science Festival

Pyraloons on Facebook

Previously: Enormous Sierpiński tetrahedron made of balloons

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