Visit to Mathematics: The Winton Gallery at The Science Museum on Thursday 22nd February.
After ten years of teaching Maths, I was excited to visit Mathematics: The Winton Gallery at The Science Museum. Take care not to miss Babbage’s difference engine (which I nearly did) as it sits outside the Gallery. This is a machine using Babbage’s mid 19th century design but constructed after his death. It is essentially a calculator that can calculate the outputs to, say, the equation y = x2+ 3. Something that is now easily done on modern calculators using the table function.
Entering the Gallery, Zaha Hadid’s representation of the simulated airflow around an aeroplane is stunning, futuristic & colourful. It is surrounded by a fantastic collection of memorabilia covering diverse fields of study, commerce & uses for mathematics in the real world; perspective, proportion, architecture, marine, computing, trigonometry, medicine, probability & risk, aviation, weights & measures to name a few.
Here are a couple of the items in more detail.
An elaborate competitor to the current set square
I was particularly interested to see this item which has come from my home town of Harpenden but what a monstrosity. I feel fortunate to live in a time of the laptop not to mention tablet and smart phone.
Items I would like to see in my museum;
Cuisenaire rods – precision made to 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 centimetres.
Useful for adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, ratio, proportion, algebra,
Pythagoras, length, area, volume, symmetry, story telling….. & no doubt many more.
The Platonic Solids – the five regular solids
A Slide Rule to Maths Tables to A ClassWiz
Here is an example of finding Sin(15˚)
A Maths Timeline
(The diagram is only an approximation)
Written by J Forsythe. Any misrepresentations, errors or omissions please let me know at [email protected]