Mathematica at Boston Museum of Science

Posted May 29, 2014

Created by the famous husband-and-wife team, Charles and Ray Eames, this has been a favorite exhibition since first curated in 1961.

Mathematica in Boston

Charles and Ray Eames wanted to provide an opportunity for everyone to enjoy the beauty and wonder of mathematics. In doing so, they also provided us with an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of post-modern design.

Rather than focusing on one particular area of mathematics, Charles and Ray selected the most compelling images and stories from many branches, including probability, topology, Boolean algebra, geometry, calculus, and logic. Observe the “History Wall” to see a timeline of these mathematic achievements.

In one exhibit display, soap bubbles on wire forms reveal the minimal surface for that shape. Joseph Plateau experimented with closed wire loops and soap film in the mid-1800s, a century before we were able to prove mathematically what was evident in the bubbles. A curved wire dipped in the soapy solution will form a Mobius band, a larger version of which is part of the topology exhibit nearby.

On the “Image Wall,” discover the great beauty in mathematics. You can find the Fibonacci series of numbers in the seeds of a sunflower. The Golden Spiral is displayed in the shell of a chambered nautilus.


Exhibition Details

Boston Museum of Science
1 Science Park
Boston, MA 02114
On permanent display.

Learn more about the history of this exhibition, and find out how to visit Mathematica in New York and Michigan.