Category Archives: U.K.

Pythagoras in Temple Bar Moument

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

The Temple Bar Memorial (1880) stands in the middle of the road opposite Street’s Law Courts marking the place where Wren’s Temple Bar used to stand as the entrance to London from Westminster.

The monument has two standing statues dedicated to Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales because both were the last royals to pass through the old gate in 1872.

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

The reliefs round Queen Victoria contains some allegories which includes the first picture about the Euclidean demonstration of the theorem of Pythagoras. We also find a ruler and a globe with the ecliptic.

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Location: Temple Bar (map)

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Robert Hooke Biodiversity Bell

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Walking around St. Paul’s Cathedral I saw this ‘Robert Hooke Biodiversity Bell’ by chance.

Hooke was probably the first man who realised that extinction of species was really possible.

The Robert Hooke Biodiversity Bell

The bell was designed by sculptor, Marcus Vergette and cast at Taylor’s Bell Founders in Loughborough from a mould of the same fossil-rich Portland limestone of which the base, St. Paul’s, and so much of central London, is made.

This is the final scale model for a much larger ‘geological’ bell to be tolled whenever a species goes extinct worldwide and will be sited at the MEMO Project on the Isle of Portland. During the aftermath of the Great Fire of London Robert Hooke first deduced that species could go extinct from giant ammonite fossils in Portland stone […]

Location: Robert Hooke Biodiversity Bell (map)

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)

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)

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 National Portrait Gallery in London

Photography by Carlos Dorce (alloed by the guards)

Photography by Carlos Dorce (allowed by the guards)

This was one of the great moment in my last holidays in England! Newton and me together in the same picture! (I must thank the guard because he allowed me to take this picture) Today is 25 December and this is the reason because I am publishing today this picture: Newton was born on December 25, 1642 (Julian Calendar) so… Happy Birthday Great Mind! 

Photography by Carlos Dorce (alloed by the guards)

Photography by Carlos Dorce (allowed by the guards)

Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) [by Sir Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723)]

An immensely influential mathematical scientist, in one year (1665-6), when driven from Cambridge by plague, Newton formulated a series of important theories concerning light, colour, calculus and the ‘universal law of gravitation’. According to tradition, he developed the latter theory after seeing an apple fall from a tree. He published Principia (1687) and the Optiks (1704), and was knighted in 1705. Newton was President of the Royal Society from 1703 until his death.

Newton is not alone and he is accompanied by other great English scientist like Edmund Halley. The portrait of Halley is attributed to Isaac Whood (1688-1752) from 1720. Halley has a chart showing his predicted path accross Southern England of the total solar eclipse of 22 April 1715.

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce (allowed by the guards)

Edmond Halley (1656-1742)

Astronomer. At the age of twenty-two in 1678 he published his catalogue of the stars of the southern hemisphere, and in 1705 his celebrated work on comets. Halley published Newton’s Principia at his own expense, 1687; he was appointed Astronomer Royal in 1721. He successfully predicted the reappearance of the great comet in 1758 (‘Halley’s Comet’).

Sir Christopher Wren (showing a plan of St. Paul’s Cathedral) is also in the Gallery:

Photography by Carlos Dorce (allowed by the guards)

Photography by Carlos Dorce (allowed by the guards)

Wren was an architect and scientist. After the Great Fire of 1666, he rebuilt St. Paul’s Cathedral and many of the London City Churches; his work includes the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford (1664-9), Trinity College Library in Cambridge (1674-84), Chelsea Hospital and Greenwich Hospital (from 1696). He was professor of Astronomy at Oxford and later President of the Royal Society.

Herschel and Boyle are also exhibited in the Gallery but it was almost impossible to take a picture of them so it’s better if you go to the National Portrait Gallery web and you’ll see better pictures of them. 

Before ending this post, we must look at this anamorphic picture of King Edward VI:

Edward VI 1537-53 by William Scrots (active 1537-53). Oil on panel, 1546.

This unusual portrait of Edward was painted in 1546 the year before he became king. He is shown in distorted perspective (anamorphosis), a technique to display the virtuosity of the painter and amaze the spectator. Anamorphic portraits were relatively popular in mainland Europe at this time, but this painting was considered particularly remarkable […].

The anamorphosis is a very interesting mathematical technique which must be explained in detail but I am not going to do it now.

MERRY CHRISTMAS… or ….

HAPPY NEWTON’S BIRTHDAY!

Location: National Portrait Gallery in London (map)

The King’s School in Grantham

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

My last visit in Grantham was the King’s School. Why? Read it:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

A second plaque remebers us the value of this old building:

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Photography by Carlos Dorce

Location: The King’s School (map)