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Mathematics: The Winton Gallery at the Science Museum

Home > London > Exhibitions | Free | Galleries | Museums
by Caroline Haack (subscribe)
Fine art student and freelance writer from Paris, living in London.
Published May 6th 2017
The new Gallery of the Science Museum
Photograph: Nicholas Guttridge/NIck Guttridge via

The new gallery dedicated to Mathematics at the Science Museum opened a few months ago. It was designed by the architectural firm of Zaha Hadid, a trained mathematician, following a 5 million donation to the Science Museum in London. The gallery's collection is subdivided into three parts, each corresponding to one of the three main exhibition areas - mathematicians, applications of mathematics to everyday life, mathematical instruments and ideas. This new permanent gallery shows how mathematicians and their works have shaped the world since the 17th century.

"Its design explores the many influences that mathematics has had in our everyday lives, transforming seemingly abstract mathematical concepts into exciting interactive experiences for visitors of all ages," said the now deceased famous architect Zaha Hadid, winner of the Prize Pritzker, who attended post-graduate maths and subsequently illustrated by the fluidity of his architectural creations (Source). "This choice reflects our ambition to offer the world's most prominent mathematics gallery both with its collection and design," said Science Museum director Ian Blatchford (Source).

The architectural renderings diffused by the Hadid cabinet show an entrance hall with symmetrical lines which are astonishingly fluid and combine with concave curves and straight lines. It is conceived as a wind tunnel for the largest object in the gallery: a Handley Page aircraft from 1929, as if the air the aircraft was producing was materialised. The purple color is everywhere through light, creating a real ambiance. All over the room are little boards, each explaining a mathematical history or a mathematical equipment.

The Science Museum is the most visited museum in the UK by school groups, with 380,000 young people and more than 3 million non-school visitors in 2015. Entry to the Science Museum remains free, giving access to galleries that are the permanent collections of the museum, representing more than 90% of the museum.
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