Stunningly Designed New Gallery Celebrating Mathematics At The Science Museum Has Just Opened

15th December 2016

Good news everyone! The London Science Museum has opened their brand new Winton Gallery, dedicated to mathematics and it is gorgeous, and so exciting - we can’t wait to go! A statement on their website asserts that the gallery “reveals the fundamental role mathematicians, their tools and ideas play in the world around us.”

“From war and peace to form and beauty, the objects in ‘Mathematics: The Winton Gallery’ explore the connection mathematics has with every aspect of our lives.”

The exhibitions will cover “400 years of human ingenuity from the renaissance to the present day, with objects ranging from intriguing hand-held mathematical instruments to a 1929 experimental aircraft.”

Astrolabe, 1666

Designed by the Zaha Hadid architecture firm, in their first project since their founder Hadid died last year, the space is truly stunning.

"Conceived as a wind tunnel for the largest object in the gallery – a Handley Page aircraft from 1929  – the space follows the lines of airflow around it in a stunning display of imagined aerodynamics," said a statement from ZHA.

"Inspired by the Handley Page aircraft, the design is driven by equations of airflow used in the aviation industry."

The huge three dimensional curls loop effortlessly overhead, which represent the undulations in airflow around the plane and are lit with a rich purple glow – the sight is truly both beautiful and inspiring.

It comes as no surprise to us that the founder of Zaha Hadid Architecture, Iraqi born Zaha herself actually studied for a mathematics degree at the American University of Beirut before becoming an architect and her love of maths can be seen in her bold geometric forms and shapes within her designs.

The Late Zaha Hadid

"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," Hadid has previously said of her childhood in Iraq, and we are pleased that her team have treasured her vision and continued in the way she would have wanted.

Glass eyes used by Francis Galton

Exhibits include a Babbage machine, an astrolabe from 1666, an Enigma machine, electrical logic machine, a box of glass eyes ‘used by Francis Galton in his 1884 Anthropometric Laboratory to help measure the physical characteristics of the British public, and many, many other fascinating treasures and relics. 

"Mathematical practice underpins so many aspects of our lives and work, and we hope that bringing together these remarkable stories, people and exhibits will inspire visitors to think about the role of mathematics in a new light," said curator David Rooney.

We highly recommend a day out there, for families and for school trips as well. It’s not often you get so close to such important artefacts that had such impact on the world of mathematics – and consequently such an impact on the rest of the world. We’re thrilled and hope everyone is as excited as we are!