Machined Titanium, Stainless Steel & Copper Supereggs based on the mathematics of Gabriel Lamé & Piet Hein. A Zen egg like none other.
Introducing the Superegg! Altdynamic’s 11th Kickstarter campaign.
The Superegg and the Superellipse it is based on are rather new shapes, yet are two of the most culturally significant and mathematically significant shapes of the 20th century. Due to their appealing and useful design, they have influenced numerous disciplines from industrial design, cartography, plant microscopy, typography, sports stadium design, architecture, and computer graphics.
The humble 3D Superegg stuns onlookers with its intriguing rolling properties, approachable equation, and its mysterious balancing stability.
Overall, the Superegg and Superellipse are symbols of something much bigger than useful and aesthetic design. They are the result of and represent the synthesis and unification of algebra and geometry.
The Superegg’s origins are from the early 19th-century work of the great French mathematical-physicist and engineer Gabriel Lamé (1795-1870). In 1818, Lamé was studying various closed curves which resemble ellipses and published a paper titled ”Review of different methods used to solve geometry problems”.
Today, these curves are referred to as Lamé curves and a subset of these curves are called Lamé Ovals or Superellipses. His work in these fields merged algebra and geometry in a way nobody else had.
Piet Hein was a popular poet, inventor, designer, polyglot, mathematician, philosopher, artist, author, and scientist. He was friends with Nobel Prize-winning physicist Niels Bohr, filmmaker Charlie Chaplin, and was visiting Princeton University to enjoy tea with Albert Einstein.
That is to say, without Hein, the Superellipse would not have the worldwide cultural appeal it maintains today. Moreover, Hein produced Supereggs in various sizes and materials in the 1960s and 1970s.
Even John Lennon had a Superegg he would carry in his pocket. Lennon called it the “Alien Egg” and gave it to his friend Uri Geller since it was too weird for him.
Why does the Superegg balance?
A rigorous proof does not seem to exist or have a universal agreement in the mathematical community. Likely solutions seem to involve the fact that the center of curvature at the tips of the major axis is infinitely high and is above the center of gravity.
Tilting the Superegg results in the center of gravity increasing in height, and as a result, gravity is pulling it back down to its lowest potential energy.
Basically, you can stack Supereggs ad infinitum. In other words, any major-minor axis ratio can theoretically be balanced.
Design & Precision Machining
Each Superegg a solid bar of either Copper, Stainless Steel, or Titanium. They will certainly not be casting them.
- Copper Machine Finish
- Titanium. Machine Finish (top). Satin Finish (Bottom).
- Metals: Stainless Steel, Titanium, Copper
- Copper: Classic Weight: 10 oz, 283 g., Mini Weight: 2.6 oz, 74 g
- Stainless Steel: Classic Weight: 8.9 oz, 252 g, Mini Weight: 2.3 oz, 65 g
- Titanium: Classic Weight: 5 oz, 142 g, Mini Weight: 1.2 oz, 34 g
- Titanium is roughly half as dense as Copper. A US nickel is 5 g, .18 oz.
Copper will oxidize when exposed to oxygen in the air, and over time will naturally patina and darken (just like a penny). Their Copper is solid Copper, not plated. You can easily clean it in seconds with a patina-removing solution. Copper is a very soft metal and not so scratch-resistant, unlike Titanium and Steel. If you are concerned about scratching or color changing, they do not recommend Copper.
Stainless Steel and Titanium are very similar. Both are very hard and very scratch-resistant. They will certainly not patina as Copper will. Titanium is a slightly darker metal than Steel. On the other hand, the biggest difference is Titanium is half the weight of the other two.
Finishes – Machine, Mirror, Satin
Machine Finish: This finish is straight off of the lathe. There is a fine radial texture throughout the piece. The Machine Finish will show all machining marks and textures, including light scratches inherent in the process.
The underside of the Superegg may subsequently have a small section with a light brushing finish to remove any bur. The raw Machine Finish is rarely found on consumer goods.
Mirror Polish: Highly polished and is literally a small mirror. It is so reflective you can see yourself or see what is happening behind you. It is extremely lustrous.
Satin Finish: This finish has a flat sheen so it hides fingerprints well. The surface is dotted with microscopic craters which reflect light in a diffuse manner. For example, this finish is very similar to that found on Apple computers or laptops.