Monthly Archives: January, 2014

St. Martin’s Church in Birmingham

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

My last post about my visit to Birmingham is dedicated to St. Martin’s Church. The building is one of the most known churches of the city because of ii’s next to Bullring. Inside the church there is one of the sides of the nave which is full of flowered mosaics. Thus, the mathematical tourist must leave the Bullring for a moment and visit it for a few minutes:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Location: St. Martin’s church in Birmingham (map)

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The Bullring in Birmingham

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Bullring is a very big shopping center in Birmingham downtown which is impossible to not visiting if you are in this great English city. In one f the corners of the mall we can see this curved structure which shows a metallic mosaic full of circles. There are a lot of restaurants and shops below it so here you have a very good place to start your day in the shopping center.

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Location: Bullring Shopping Center (map)

The cylindrical Rotunda

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Another mathematical building located in Birmingham is the Rotunda. I think that it’s not necessary to say anything more!

Location: Rotunda (map)

Immortal Books, essential instruments (and III)

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Descartes (1596-1650) and his Discours de la méthode (1637) is exhibited here although there is no word about his Géométrie. I could cry for it!

D’Alembert and Diderot are also here but the important D’Alembert’s mathematical works are not mentioned either. They compiled the first Encyclopèdie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers (1751-1772) and we have to settle this:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Finally, a little mention to Albert Einstein (1879-1955) and his Über die spezielle und die allgemeine Relativitätstheorie: Gemeinverständlich (1917):

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

As you can see it’s a very good opportuniry to learn some things about all these great scientists and their works! The other scientist are Lavoisier, Lyell, Darwin, Bernard, Maxwell, Ramón y Cajal, Curie, Dirac and Morgan.

Location: MUNCYT in Madrid (map) and MUNCYT in A Coruña (map)

Immortal Books, essential instruments (II)

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

The Astronomical Revolution is visited after the Greek books and Copernicus (1473-1543) and his De Revolutionibus orbium coelestium are the next couple to study:

He was born in Poland in a very rich family. His parents died and his uncle (bishop of Warmia) took care of him. He went to the University of Krakow and he studied Canonic Law in Bologna some years later. He was under the Italian Humanism there and he began to have interest for Astronomy. He completed his studies and also Mechanics in Padova and read his doctoral dissertation in Canonic Law in the University of Ferrara. After this, he came back to his country and entered the Bishop’s court. In 1513 he wrote the Commentariolus – manuscript which circulated anonymously- where astronomers could read his new astronomical system. He was invited to reform the Julian calendar. He wrote his great work De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium inthe last days of his life and he defended the heliocentrical hypothesis in it. His disciple Rheticus brought a copy of the manuscript to the printing in 1542 and it was published in 1543. Copernicus died in Frombork and his theory was condemned by the Church in 1616 and was in the List of Prohibited Books until 1748.

I think that I’m going to go to Poland next holidays!

One of the most important followers of the heliocentrism was Johannes Kepler (1571-1630):

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

The scientist who opened the way to the modern astronomy was born in Weil der Stadt, Germany. He suffered from myopia and double vision caused from smallpox and this wasn’t a problem for him to discover the laws which explain the movements of the planets around the Sun. He studied Theology in the University of Tubingen under his teacher Michael Mastlin and he soon noticed his unusual skills reading Ciopernicus’ heliocentrism. He mainly lived in Graz, Prague and Linz. He met Tycho Brahe in Prague and some years later he became Imperial Mathematician under Rudolph II’s protection. It wa sin this period when he developed his great works: Tabulae Rudolphinae and Astronomia Nova (1609). In Astronomia Nova he explained two of the three fundamental laws describing the movement of the planets; the third one was explained in Harmonices Mundi Libri V (1619). Kepler was the first scientific in needing phisician demonstrations to the celestial phenomena.

Who is the next? Galileo (1564-1642), of course!

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

His book is the Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo Tolemaico, e Copernicano (1632). In this book he defended the Copernicanism against the Ptolemaic system although the book was prohibited by the Inquisition and he was condemned to house arrest.

Galileo died in 1642 and Newton (1642-1727) was born some months after his death. His Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica was one of the most important scientific books of all the History of Science. I am not going to talk about Newton and his book after my visit to Englang last holidays but here you have his portrait:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

The other scientists of this epoch are Vesalius (De humani corporis fabrica), Harvey (Exercitatio anatomica de motu cordis et sanguini), Linneo (Systema naturae) and Hooke (Macrographia):

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

There is another important mathematician from the 17th century but… it will be presented tomorrow!

Location: MUNCYT in Madrid (map) and MUNCYT in A Coruña (map)

Immortal Books, essential instruments (I)

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

This post is about a very interesting exhibition about 26 selected scientific books which I visited in Madrid in August and it can be visited now in A Coruña (from the 17th October). There are explanation of the 26 books and their authors and I am going to talk about the mathematical ones (of course!). Furthermore, there are Eulogia Merle‘s drawings of every scientist exhibited here so this is another interesting attraction to visit it.

The first great mathematician is Euclid (c.295 BC).

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

[In Spanish:] Es difícil precisar datos de la biografía del más destacado matemático de la antigüedad grecolatina, considerado el Padre de la Geometría. Solo se conocen con certeza dos hechos indiscutibles: vivió en una época intermedia entre los discípulos de Platón y los de Arquímedes, y formó una gran escuela de matemáticas en Alejandría. Según el filósofo bizantino Proclo, Euclides enseñó en esta ciudad del delta del Nilo durante el mandato de Ptolomeo I Sóter, es decir, entre los años 323 y 285 a.C. Murió en torno al año 270 a.C. Su fama radica en ser el autor de los Elementos, un tratado de geometría que ha servido de libro de tecto en la materia hasta comienzo del siglo XX. Está compuesto por trece libros que tratatn de geometría en dos y tres dimensiones, proporciones y teoría de números. Presenta toda la geometría basándose en teoremas que pueden derivarse a partir de cinco axiomas o postulados muy simples que se aceptan como verdaderos.

There are two different digital editions of the Elements and a compass from the 16th or 17th century with all this information:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

The next Greek mathematician is Archimedes (287-212 BC) although his book here is On the floating bodies which is less mathematical than phisician.

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Ptolemy (2nd century) is the next and his Almagest was the most important astronomical book since the 16th century.

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

There is also an interesting wooden astrolabe from 1630 (“Claudii Ricchardi”):

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Arsitotle, Hippocrates and Pliny the Younger are the other three Greek scientists represented in the exhibition.

Location: MUNCYT in Madrid (map) and MUNCYT in A Coruña (map)

Birmingham Central Library

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Birmingham Central Library is one wonderful example of a mathematical building. Look at their beautiful three mosaics (the white one, the blac one and both together) which we can admire in Centenary Square!

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

So don’t forget to visit it if you are going to Birmingham!

Location: Birmingham Central Library (map)

Meters and feet

bir05

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Next to Birmingham Town Hall…

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

… there is this line on te floor. Almost everybody in Victoria Square walk near it but only a few people notice that this stone line shows the equivalence between the metrical system and the British one.

So you can see some plaques indicating the distances measured in meters and also in feet:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

It’s a good opportunity to improvise a Maths class, isn’t it?

Location: Birmingham Town Hall (map)

Birmingham City Council

Council of Birmingham

Birmingham City Council
Photography by Carlos Dorce

This is Birmingham City Council. I arrived at Birmingham yesterday together with three colleagues and ten students because we are participating in a Comenius meeting organized by the Long Eaton School. This morning we have been wandering in the center of the city and have visited some of its most important buildings as the city council. It has been a rainy day but we have enjoyed the city a lot

Birmingham City Council is in Victoria Square and it’s one of the city hearts. I haven’t found out when it was built yet but I’ve noticed this beautiful mosaic below the main frontispiece:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

You can see Science in the left of it. It’s a pity that the picture isn’t so good butit’s possible to distinguish something similar to an armilar sphere.

Furthermore, in the frontispiece located in the left corner of the main facade there are some muses (?) and…

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

this one is measuring on a globe with a compass:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

There always are mathematical objects everywhere!

Location: Birmingham City Council (map)

The frontispiece of Museo del Prado

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

The forntispiece of Museo del Prado of Madrid is full of allegorical figures of the muses and the arts. If we watch it carefully, we’ll notice Urania with a compass and a globe in her hands counting on a parchment:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

The building was designed by the architect Juan de Villanueva (1739-1811) and it had to host the Royal Observatory, a Science Room, the Botanic Gardens, schools, laboratories,… The Spanish king yhought that it could be a very good example of the new illustrated Spain. However, it never was used in this way:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Nowadays thousands of tourists visit the pictures in the Museo del Prado and only a few ones visit outside the building. Among all the statues which decorate this neoclassical structure there are the Architecture…

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

…and the Symmetry:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

There are also some medallions with busts of famous Spanish scientist and writers on each of these statues. Of course, Juan de Herrera is also here:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Location: Museo del Prado (map)