Mathematics gallery added to Science Museum

The world’s only permanent public museum exhibition designed by renowned architect Zaha Hadid has opened its doors at London’s Science Museum.

Mathematics: The Winton Gallery features more than 100 artefacts from the Science Museum’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics collections, selected to tell stories about how mathematics has shaped our lives.

Curator Dr David Rooney said: “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.”

At the centre of the gallery is the Handley Page ‘Gugnunc’ aeroplane, built in 1929 for a competition to construct safe aircraft.

Ground-breaking aerodynamic research influenced the wing design of this experimental aeroplane, helping to shift public opinion about the safety of flying and to secure the future of the aviation industry.

It encapsulates the gallery’s overarching theme, illustrating how mathematical practice has helped solve real-world problems.

The gallery is also the first of Zaha Hadid Architects’ projects to open in the UK since Dame Zaha Hadid’s sudden death in March 2016.

Ian Blatchford, director of the Science Museum Group, commented: “It was a terrible shock for us all when Dame Zaha died suddenly…but I am sure that this gallery will be a lasting tribute to this world-changing architect and provide inspiration for our millions of visitors for many years to come.”

Exhibits include a 17th century Islamic astrolabe that uses ancient mathematical techniques to map the night sky, and an early example of the famous Enigma machine, designed for code breaking during the Second World War.

Picture by Nick Guttridge.