This segment from National Public Radio examines the intricate geometric designs that often cover historic buildings in the Islamic world. When Peter Lu, a graduate student at Harvard University, first saw one of them he was reminded of ‘quasicrystal’ patterns he’d encountered in his classes. While it’s doubtful that the creators of the ancient designs knew anything about quasicrystals, it’s equally surprising that their designs–created over 500 years ago–echo these structures that were only identified fairly recently.
For a nice picture of a quasicrystal in another context, also see What Is This? A Psychedelic Place Mat? from Discover magazine here.