The National Maritime Museum

The National Maritime Museum is another of the touristic attractions which can be visited in Greenwich. Of course, you can see boats, ships, maps,… and all the things related to the sea and the English glorious past. Therefore… what can the mathematical tourist visit here? Navigators used charts, maps, astrolabes, globes,… in their adventures so we can start our mathematical visit with all these mathematical objects!

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Brass celestial globe. German, about 1725

This is one of a pair with a terrestial globe. It shows constellations, the Milky Way and the Magellanic Clouds. It contains some mistakes, indicating that it was a luxury item that could adorna wealthy home rather than an up-to-date scientific instrument. Nevertheless, with its calendar ring, it could be used to identify what was seen in the night sky.

There also are terrestial globes which were used by navigators to measure distances on the terrestial surfaces:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

The first golden globe is from 1600 and the globe at its right is a French globe from 1625. Behind it there is a German terrestial globe by Johann Reinhold (1588). Of course, sundials also are shown in the exhibition! The first one (left) is an inclining dial for use in Japan before 1872 and the second is an equinoctial dial fou use in Huangzou, China, in the 19th century:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

We can also find astrolabes, compasses, quadrants, telescopes, rulers,…

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Look at this astrolabe from Islamic Spain (c.1230) by an unknown maker! It’s a jewel!

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

I am sure that you can find out more mathematical objects if you have enough time to enjoy all the exhibition!

Location: National Maritime Museum in Greenwich (map)

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