# Triple-nested Klein bottle

Here's glassblower Alan Bennett's astounding triple-nested Klein bottle, a beautiful thing:

A single surface model made by Alan Bennett in Bedford, United Kingdom. It consists of three Klein bottles set inside each other to produce, when cut, three pairs of single-twist Mobius strips. A Klein bottle has no edges, no outside or inside and cannot be properly constructed in three dimensions.

(Image: Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library)

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1. oasisob1 says:

“…cannot be properly constructed in three dimensions.”
Well, wtf is that in the picture then?

1. ldobe says:

The three-dimensional shadow of a four-dimensional object.
Klein bottles are defined as non-self-intersecting.  In three dimensions that’s impossible, but in four dimensions it can work.  So all the glass objects advertized as Klein bottles are actually 3 dimensional embeddings of four-dimensional objects.  A necessarily imperfect simile, in other words.

You can see the same sort of embedding in general relativity embedding diagrams where “down” would require some kind of meta-gravity, and in visualizations of tesseracts (4D cubes)

2. Gulliver says:

Math pron. Beautiful sexy math pron.

1. oasisob1 says:

I like your answer much more than @boingboing-430cc6899313afb79f799dc72fb58493:disqus ‘s. That answer is right, but very unsexy. :-)

3. Jim Donaught says:

Cliff Stoll (above) can construct them in his better moments, but you can’t have one because UPS insists on shipping them in 3 dimensions.

2. Grey Devil says:

“cannot be properly constructed in three dimensions.”

Looks pretty proper to me.

1. winkybb says:

Theoretically,  with a Klein bottle the “tube” passes through the side of the bottle without there being an intersection in the surface. The tube passes from one side to the other in a fourth dimension. Not possible in three dimensions, so this is a representation only. Not a true Klein bottle.

3. A proper klein bottle has mobius-strip like properties along two axes, the pseudoklein bottles that can be constructed in three dimensions only have them along one.

1. HenrySeg says:

You are thinking of the projective plane, not the Klein bottle. winkybb is correct: the problem is self intersection in 3-dimensions, which can only be avoided in 4-dimensions or higher.

4. Someone needs to make one of these out of a turkey, a chicken, and a duck.

1. Jim Donaught says:

Or a duck, a duck, and a moose…

5. bo1n6bo1n6 says:

Look at it. Just look.

6. Mike Guerrero says:

So the Crazy Straw is already built in, then.

7. 10xor01 says:

Looks like a pretty nice bong to me.

1. Tim says:

That was my first thought as well.

1. ldobe says:

A real Klein bottle wouldn’t contain the smoke, heh.  Since it’s a 3D object that contains no volume, there’d be no logical places to put the bowl and the mouthpiece, since any smoke generated could flow out of the Klein bottle without having to pass through an orifice.

1. Ian Wood says:

Yes, but then you get stoned four years ago for no apparent reason.

1. ldobe says:

As long as we keep incrementing spatial dimensions and leave time 1d. I can’t figure out 1d time myself, and I doubt anyone can think in 2d time in any meaningful way. It’s both unintuitive and there are exactly 0 examples in real life that map onto it in any way shape or form. I’m just glad I can imagine a couple of static 4D objects using time as an extra spatial dimension.

2. A real Klein bottle would contain ALL THE SMOKE IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE.

2. Frank Lee Scarlett says:

My first thought was, “How would I clean that? I wonder if kosher salt and white vinegar would do the trick?”

It is a stunning piece of art though.

1. tré says:

You went straight to cleaning? I’m still trying to figure out how to pack the damn thing.

8. Bart says:

mind=blown

9. lectroid says:

Cliff Stohl of (Cuckoo’s Egg fame) makes and sells a variety of klein bottles and other odd glassware at http://kleinbottle.com

dig the retro (lack of) web design. that’s straight up html, that is.

1.   Thank you, Lectroid … yes, I’ve made Klein bottles for about 15 years; much fun!  I’ve made an externally coupled, triple Klein bottle, as well as a kleinbottle-wine-bottle.  And yes, m’website is pretty much handcoded, slowly built up from 1997 or so.  Someday, I’ll recast it with modern tools…

Best part of my microbusiness of mathematical manifolds is meeting interesting people; if you’re visiting Berkeley, give a shout…

1. Jim Donaught says:

Much nicer work than Bennett’s, in my opinion!

10. bo1n6bo1n6 says:

I made this, my first one… Look at it.(sorry I posted the wrong pic before.)

1. Boundegar says:

What’s that beard behind it?

2. Category says:

Just look at it.

11. CLamb says:

“It consists of three Klein bottles set inside each other to produce,
when cut, three pairs of single-twist Mobius strips. A Klein bottle has
no edges, no outside or inside and cannot be properly constructed in
three dimensions” Does no one see the problem with setting inside each other things which have no insides?

12. I would so love to see a video of the production of the piece.

Looking for such, ran across this… part 5/5 of making a single one:

13. lavardera says:

That is very cool, but it is three separate Klein bottles overlapping in the same general space. I think it would have been cooler if it was a progression of kleing bottles from the largest to the smallest, so that instead of three separate surfaces the entire thing would have been a single surface.