In September 2015, MATHSWORLDuk participated in the Bradford Science Festival, on the Saturday in the City Centre and on the Sunday in the University. By invitation and in association with the London Mathematical Society we also took part in the Bloomsbury Festival in October 2015, this time on the Saturday in Senate House and on Sunday in Brunswick Square. We had on display the Parabolic Bounces and the Tautochrone exhibits, as well as the platonic solids, used to model viruses, with their nets and a maths in medicine quiz. Once again, visitors of all ages and backgrounds showed great interest in the mathematics on display.
The first issue of our Newsletter has been published. This highlights our recent activities and includes a summary of the evaluation of visitor responses to our stands at the Big Bang Science Fair in Birmingham and the Leeds Festival of Science earlier in the year.
We are hoping to secure funds for two new exhibits. We want to develop our first interactive digital exhibit, which will focus on aspects of Boolean Logic, and its applications in electronic circuitry, modeling of neural nets, and what happens to information when it is fed through electronic feedback loops. The idea is to develop circuits, which learn and have ‘memory’. The second new exhibit would generate changing wave motions from a sequence of pendulums of differing lengths. We also want to commission a virtual platform which demonstrates the type of visitor experience we are planning.
Visits and links
Members of the Executive Committee have paid visits to the Weizmann Institute in Israel, to the Cité des Sciences and the Palais de Découverte in Paris, the New York Hall of Science and to Science Centres at Herstmonceux (on the site of the former Royal Observatory in Sussex) and Winchester, all of which have important mathematics exhibits. We also paid a further visit to the new Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) in New York and talked to the directors about potential future partnership, including possibly hosting the MATRIX conference for mathematics museums around the world in September 2016.
We have established an Advisory Panel, which currently has 11 members from a variety of professions who can provide us with expertise about developments in mathematics promotion, in mathematics itself and in its applications in different fields. We shall be seeking more members as the need arises. In the meantime, any experts, whether they be financiers, fundraisers, or organizers, or computer scientists, or artists, or mathematicians, or journalists, or from other backgrounds, who think they might be able to add positive support for our endeavor, and who wish to be considered for this panel, should contact Professor Margaret Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have accepted invitations to give presentations about the work of MATHSWORLDuk at Manchester University (Sept 15), King’s College London (Nov 15), the British Society for the History of Mathematics Conference (Dec 15) and Imperial College (Feb 15).
Science Museum developments
We have also had further discussions with the directors of the new David and Claudia Harding Gallery (of Mathematics) and the new Interactive Gallery at the Science Museum. These galleries are at present closed whilst they are being modernized and having their new range of exhibits put in place. They are due to reopen in October 2016. Impressive as these two galleries might be, our ongoing discussions have convinced us of the need for an entirely independent interactive museum of mathematics.
We have had several discussions with the Leeds City Council, the University of Leeds and with property developers in Leeds about locations in Leeds. In the meantime, other centres are being considered. These include London, Manchester and Cambridge.
We are actively seeking the support of financial donors to support these current and future developments to contribute to the ethos and sense of mathematical adventure that the discovery centre will seek to stimulate.