Crystal Clear

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In 1953, while working a hotel switchboard, a college graduate named Shea Zellweger began a journey of wonder and obsession that would eventually lead to the invention of a radically new notation for logic. From a basement in Ohio, guided literally by his dreams and his innate love of pattern, Zellweger developed an extraordinary visual system – called the “Logic Alphabet” – in which a group of specially designed letter-shapes can be manipulated like puzzles to reveal the geometrical patterns underpinning logic. Indeed, Zellweger has built a series of physical models of his alphabet that recall the educational teaching toys, or “gifts,” of Friedrich Froebel, the great nineteenth century founder of the Kindergarten movement. Just as Froebel was deeply influenced by the study of crystal structures, which he believed could serve as the foundation for an entire educational framework, so Zellweger’s Logic Alphabet is based on a crystal-like arrangement of its elements. Thus where the traditional approach to logic is purely abstract, Zellweger’s is geometric, making it amenable to visual play.

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