I visited the Hewelianum Centre when I was in Gdansk and I discovered a new science museum which must be located in all the tourist guides:
The Hewelianum Centre is an educational and recreational centre for all age groups situated on the grounds of the Fort Góra Gradowa. The view from the top of the hill is the panorama of the historic town and the industrial landscape of the shipyard grounds. A picturesque park and a complex of restored 19th-century military remains hosting interactive exhibitions – this is today’s image of the Fort of Góra Gradowa.
Science popularization is the main objective of the Hewelianum Centre. Interactive and multimedia exhibitions and popular science events disclose the mysteries of physics and astronomy, transfer the visitors to the past, making the historic events better understandable in the present, teach how to be sensitive to the beauty of nature, and strengthen in visitors the belief that we are all responsible for our planet. In Hewelianum Centre you can perceive the world, learn about it, and relax yourself in an interactive, creative, and innovative way!
One of the exhibitions is called “Puzzle” (why not “Maths”?) and it’s a place where people can play with Mathematics:
Break the code and discover a new dimension of mathematics!
The “Puzzle” exhibition is a three-dimensional space: mathematical, interactive, and unconventional. It consists of more than 20 stations for experimenting – where mathematics governs, but in an unprecedented way!
By crossing the mathematical “puzzle” threshold, we enter the world of geometry, symmetry, and numbers. The mathematical setting, however, is only a backdrop for interactive learning and fun. A collection of the exhibition’s main attractions includes the multiplication tower, the Pythagorean theorem in liquid form, and the Möbius strip. Here you can also see what your face would look like if it were composed of two left or two right halves or check whether a meter is the same length for all. Visiting the mathematical “Puzzle” is a perfect idea for a unique scientific experience.
The exhibition is located in the Guardhouse over the Mortar Battery postern
The room is small but all the walls and corners are full of Maths experiments:
For example, there is a Galton box (or Bean machine) where Pascal’s triangle and the Gaussian function can be observed perfectly.
You can also play with the Towers of Hanoi and discover that the minimum number of moves required to solve the puzzle is 2n – 1, where n is the number of disks (this problem was first publicized in the West by Édouard Lucas in 1883):
Did you know that it’s possible to construct a byke with squared wheels? Yes, of course. The path for this bike must be formed by contiguous series of inverted catenaries!
And had you ever seen such a wonderful way to demonstrate the Theorem of Pythagoras? Water inside the square constructed on the hypothenusa fills perfectly in the two squares constructed on the other two sides:
Obviously, there are Möbius strips and Klein’s bottles:
And you can play with the light to discover the four conics:
There are poster about a lot of mathematical subjects but tha puzzle that fascinatd so much to my son and daughter was this experiment with volumes. They discovered that the volume of a prism is three times the volume of the corresponding pyramid although they played with the red sand preparing cornflakes for breakfast!
If you visit Gdansk you must go to Hewelianum Centre and really enjoy Maths!
Let’s play with Topology! The exhibition is full of polyhedra, curious surfaces,… and Möbius strips:
August Möbius (1790-1868)
Professor Möbius discovered the surface now known as the Möbius strip in the course of an investigation of the properties of polyhedra. The discovery was made in 1858 but was not published until 1865.
There is certainly also the Klein’s bottle:
We can imagine what a wonderful surface we can get if a plane is deformed!
Sometimes, it depends on our point of view and there are surfaces which are homeomorphic to other ones that seems very different to them! If we look at the example of the conics, the circumference, the ellipse, the hyperbola and the parabola are different points of view of the same reality, aren’t they?
The mathematicalinstruments are also part of the collection. For example, there is a 17th-century box with some wooden polyhedra and some models for the study of Spherical Trigonometry:
And more wooden models in this mathematical box:
John Rowley was one of the leading London instrument makers in the late 17th and early 18th centuries and there are some mathematical compasses and instruments made by him in the collection:
Object number 1 is a proportional compass meanwhile number 5 is a ruler with pencil and dividers and number 6 is a slide rule.
Of course, if we are in a museum where the History of the Mathematics is exhibited, Napier’s rods must be here:
Unsigned, English, c. 1679
Unsigned, English, 17th century?
Charles Cotterel’s Arithmetical Compendium, Unsigned, English, c.1670
As in the Pitt Rivers Museum, the abacus also have their space in the showcases:
Oriental abacuses use beads on rods to represent numbers. Addition and substraction can be quickly performed by flicking the beads to and fro. Rather than ten beads in each column, the Chinese abacus uses five ‘unit’ beads and two ‘five’ beads (1 and 2). The Japanese abacus has just four ‘unit’ beads and one ‘five’ in each column (3).
The next Arithmetical instrument was made in the 18th century for counting. Addition was performed by turning the brass discs but since there isn’t no mechanism it was up to the user to carry tens:
I am going to finish this post with this reproduction of the Measurers by the Baroque painter Van Balen (1575 – 17 July 1632) which can be seen upstairs:
This building was erected in 1857 by The West of England and South Wales District Bank. The architects W. B. Gingell and T. R. Lysaght, based its High Renaissance style in Jacopo Sansovino’s Library of St. Mark, Venice. It has been occupied by Lloyds Bank Limited since 1892 and the exterior remains substantially in its original form. The facade is full of allegories and we can see a lot of mathematical objects:
Location: The West of England and South Wales District Bank (map)
The Millenium Square in Bristol is a very interesting square next to Bristol’s old port. Its main building is At-Bristol which is a science centre with this big “sphere” in the left of the facade. There are fountains, sculptures ad there also is a very big sundial in the middle of the square:
Furthermore, the ack facade of At-Bristol has a corious cone in front of it:
I’m sure that it’s possible to discover more mathematical objects in this square. If you find them, please let me know!
Location: the Millenium Square in Bristol (map)