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Mathematics: The Winton Gallery opens at the Science Museum

The Science Museum has opened a stunning new mathematics gallery; the only permanent public museum exhibition designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, anywhere in the world. It examines how mathematics has shaped our world, from the Renaissance to the present day, offering a vivid vision of how mathematicians, their tools and ideas have transformed the modern world over the past 400 years.

The Science Museum has opened a stunning new mathematics gallery; the only permanent public museum exhibition designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, anywhere in the world. It examines how mathematics has shaped our world, from the Renaissance to the present day, offering a vivid vision of how mathematicians, their tools and ideas have transformed the modern world over the past 400 years.

Science Museum Mathematics Gallery December 2016
Image credit Nick Guttridge.
Science Museum Mathematics Gallery December 2016
Image credit Nick Guttridge.

Mathematics is presented here not as an academic concept, but as a practice that influences technology and enables us to transform our lives, playing a central role in the evolution of the human species. More than 100 objects are on display in the Winton Gallery, which have been carefully curated by Dr David Rooney to explain how mathematics and mathematicians (in the broadest sense, from salespeople to sailors, aircraft engineers to bankers, and gamblers to garden designers) have always driven innovation, influencing technology and enabling us to construct the modern world – from trade and travel, to war, peace, life, death, form and beauty.

Science Museum Mathematics Gallery December 2016
Image credit Nick Guttridge.
Science Museum Mathematics Gallery December 2016
Image credit Nick Guttridge.

With objects ranging from odd hand-held mathematical instruments, such as a combined graphometer and plummet clinometer made by Christoff Kohler of Dresden in 1663, to others that may surprise visitors because they are totally unrelated to maths; such as a human skull marked with phrenological divisions, visitors will be able to perceive the many ways in which mathematics touches our lives.

Science Museum Mathematics Gallery December 2016
Image credit Nick Guttridge.
Science Museum Mathematics Gallery December 2016
Image credit Jody Kingzett.

At the centre of the Gallery is the Handley Page ‘Gugnunc’ wooden biplane, built in 1929 to participate in a competition proposed for the Promotion of Aeronautics – the Guggenheim Safe Aircraft Competition. This helped to shift public opinion about the safety of flying, thus securing the future of the aviation industry, which has played an important role in 20th century Britain. This biplane is a symbol of how mathematics has helped solve real-life problems, paving the way for the safe passenger flights of today.

mathematics-the-winton-gallery-science-museum-designed-by-zaha-hadid-architects-c-jody-kingzett-2
Image credit Jody Kingzett.
Science Museum Mathematics Gallery December 2016
Image credit Jody Kingzett.

This same experimental aircraft inspired Zaha Hadid Architects when designing the Gallery, which is laid out using principles of mathematics and physics. Its design is driven by equations of airflow used in the aviation industry, which are still an important area of mathematical research. Mathematics and geometry are intrinsically connected with architecture, and it was always central to the late Dame Zaha Hadid’s life and work. As she said, “When I was growing up in Iraq, math was an everyday part of life. We would play with math problems just as we would play with pens and paper to draw – math was like sketching.” Two years ago, the design was first presented, and its opening now serves as a lasting tribute to Dame Zaha. Her visionary work here will provide inspiration for all visitors for many years to come.

Science Museum Mathematics Gallery December 2016
Image credit Jody Kingzett.

To learn more about the design of the new Science Museum gallery, watch this short film where Patrick Schumacher, Director of Zaha Hadid Architects, looks at the inspiration behind this spectacular new gallery at the Science Museum.

The Mathematics Gallery has been made possible through an unprecedented donation from long-standing supporters of science, David and Claudia Harding, with Samsung as Principal Sponsor.  In this role, Samsung is supporting the Science Museum to increase young people’s interest and enjoyment in maths, as part of their wider Citizenship Programme to help everyone get excited about technology and science.

Russell Taylor, Vice President Corporate Marketing, Samsung Electronics UK & Ireland, said, ‘At Samsung, we believe in creating technology that empowers people, helping to unlock the endless possibilities of the world around us. Mathematics is very much at the heart of this innovation, and so we are thrilled to be supporting the launch of this new gallery, and hope our technology will also help inspire people to delve more deeply into this fascinating subject.’

Mathematics: The Winton Gallery is open every day, with free entry to everyone.

beta.sciencemuseum.org.uk

Mathematics: The Winton Gallery
Science Museum
Exhibition Road
South Kensington
London
SW7 2DD

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