Maths, is often a complex and terrifying beast, yet the opening of the new Mathematics exhibition at London’s Science Museum brings together remarkable stories, historical artefacts and design to highlight the central role of mathematical practice in all our lives.
More than 100 treasures from the Science Museum’s world-class science, technology, engineering and mathematics collections have been selected to tell powerful stories about how mathematics has shaped, and been shaped by, some of our most fundamental human concerns – from trade and travel to war, peace, life, death, form and beauty.
The Winton Gallery is home to this new display, and has (to rather a to of fanfare) been designed by Zaha Hadid Architects – the first of Zaha Hadid Architects’ projects to open in the UK since Dame Zaha Hadid’s sudden death in March 2016.
For the late Dame Zaha 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,” she once said.
It’s fitting that a designer of such organically structured yet mathematically hewn buildings should lay out this exhibition – Some instruments on display may surprise visitors of their mathematical dependence, while appearing rooted in other disciplines, from classical architecture to furniture design.
The Science Museum, London
Opens 8 December