In my last post about the Hewelanium Centre of Gdansk, I must show you the caricatures of the famous mathematicians and astronomers which you find on the walls (and you also can buy as a puzzle in the shop of the museum). You have pictures of Archimedes, Pascal, Copernicus:
Halley and Hevelius:
Sir Isaac Newton:
and Albert Einstein:
These aren’t good pictures but the posters are in 3D and my camera is not the best camera in the World!
The first monument to Hevelius built in Gdansk was initiative of TPD club Neptune of Gdansk and it was possible because of the donation of the citizens in 1973. The author was Michael Gąsienica Szostak and the monument was moved to the green square in front of the hotel Mercure Gdańsk Old Town (formerly Hotel Hevelius) in 2004.
Location: Monument to Hevelius (map)
This monument was designed by Jan Szczypka on 2006 and was unveiled on January 28 to conmemmorate the 395th anniversary of his birth. It’s opposite the Old Town Hall and near the church where he was buried which tower can be seen behind the monument.
Hevelis was the last great astronomer who worked without telescopes so he is working with a quadrant in spite of the 17th century modern devices.
Next to him there is a stellar map painted on a large wall waiting to be observed by this great astronomer.
Location: Monument to Hevelius in Gdansk (map)
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!
Hevelius is buried in St. Catherine’s Church in Gdansk. The construction of the current church began before 1379 and the consecration of the first phase of the building was on the feast of Pentecost of 1432. In the 15th century a chapel and a tower were added and the church’s vault was finished. One century later the side naves were added to te presbytery.
Hevelius was the head Protestant councillor in St. Catherine for 47 years and he often made astronomical observations from the tower of the church. Thus, when he died nobody doubted that he had to be buried behind the altar:
His epitaph was founded by his grand-son Daniel Gottlob-Davisson and the work was completed in 1779. You can see some astronomical instruments in the lower part. Under the portrait there is an inscription “To Jan Heweliusz with respect due to such man”.
There also is a plaque placed in the same column on January 28, 2011, to conmemorate 400 years of Hevelius’ birth:
Location: St. Catherine’s Church in Gdansk (map)
In a previous post I began to talk about this museum located inside Frombork castle. You can learn almost everything about him, his life and his works on medicine, economies and, of course, astronomy, including the replicas of his instruments (we saw them also in Warsaw). For example, it’s possible to see some facsmile editions of his works and also a recreation of his desk:
Among the references about his publication of his works, we can find this engraving showing Copernicus in a lecture for the Cracovian scientists in 1509:
Or this other wonderful one (1873) with Copernicus in he middle of the picture talking about his heliocentric system:
How proud he is of his heliocentric theory!
And who are his guests? First of all, Hipparcus (with the armillar spher) and Ptolemy (with his geocentric system) are listening the theory which will finish theirs. Ptolemy looks askance at Tycho Brahe meanwhile Newton is looking at Laplace:
Galileo Galilei is behind Copernicus looking at him with great reverence:
And Hevelius, the other great Polish astronomer, agrees Copernicus’ theories although he never had the telescope to check them.
Finally, Johannes Kepler seems to be bored of listening this obvious theory although his ellipses will be the curves which will change the astronomy.
A beautiful picture for a beautiful museum. Next step: the cathedral!
Location: Frombork castle (map)
My trip to Poland and Praghe finished yesterday and I remember that in my first post about the Museum of Technology of Warsaw I didn’t talk about the astronomical room in the second floor of the museum. It has some telescopes, reproductions of satellites and a lot of information about the space and we can also find the corner dedicated to Copernicus and his De Revolutionibus Oribium Coelestium and Hevelius.
There are three reproductions of Copernicus’s astronomical instruments which we can imagine in the hands of this Polish astronomer. First of all, the armillary sphere…
…the paralactic triangle (triquetum) for measuring the angular heigh of the Moon…
… and the solar quadrant used by Copernicus in 1510-1520 in order to watch the Sun:
Johannes Hevelius’ instruments are represented by some old images…
…and there is a representation of his observatory in Gdansk:
The Long Market (Długi Targ) is one of the most important touristic attractions of Gdansk. It was a merchant road in the 13th century. After the massacre of Gdansk citizens on 13 November 1308 by Teutonic Knights, the place became the main street of the city and is name “Longa Platea” was first written in 1331. Nowadays it’s a very beautiful long square full of typical shops and restaurants which are the soul of this cosmopolutan city. One of its most representative houses is the town hall from the 16th century and Neptune’s Fountain, the main symbol of the city, is also there. This fountain was constructed in 1617 from Abraham van den Blocke’s designs.
Thus, if you visit Gdansk, you must have time to take a beer or a coffee in one of the cafes or have a typican Polish dinner in one of the restaurants which fill all the beautiful houses which can be admire in the square.
Among all these houses we also find a lot of mathematical symbols which allow me to talk of them in this new post. For example, Radisson Blue hotel is located in number 19 and the allegorical paintings of the facade are a joy for the mathematical freak:
On both sides we have some of the most important men in the history of astronomy like Hipparcus of Rhodas,
Approaching the town hall, there is another red house which is full of artists ans it’s coronated by a replica of Aristotle and Plato from Raffaello’s “School of Athens”:
In another house there also are the allegorical Astronomia rounded by Cellarius’ heliocentric systems:
And finally we find other allegories like the Architecture, the Geometry or the Geography in the opposite side of the square:
As you can see, this is an excuse to admire the beautiful facades of the houses in this square which I never tire of walking through it.
By the way, there is a beautiful sundial in the town hall:
Location: Długi Targ in Gdansk (map)
One of the main attractions in Warsaw is the royal castle. It was the royal residence of the Polish kings sincs the 16th century and the place where the first Parliament of Poland was located. It was destroyed during the Swedish wars in the middle of the 17th century but one hundred years later it regained its magnificence.
The castle was bombed by the Germans in 1939 and blown up by the German army five years later. So there wasn’t any castle in Warsaw after the Second World War until th Communist authorities decidied to rebuild it in 1971. It was reopened in 1984.
So we have visited this emblematic building of the city (before enjoying a very good ice cream!) and the mathematical tourist has found the Knights’ Hall (1786) which should be explaied in all the touristic guides.
It was the most important ante room leading to the Throne Room intended to perform the functions of a National Pantheon. During the royal audiences, all the senators and diplomats accredited to the Court gathered here.
The array of paintings and sculptures renowned Polish men and historic events and the statue of Chronos-Saturn symbolizes the lasting memory of great statesmen. And now… if you look at the painting on the great World… you can see…
Copernicus! But he is not the only important astronmer in the room. There also is a bronze bust of Johannes Hevelius (1611-1687), sculpted by Giacomo Monaldi. Hevelius was the founder of lunar topography and after Copernicus, he is the second most important Polish astronomer!
We also find the painting “The Establishment of Krakow Academy, 1400” by Marcella Bacciarellego (1783-1786) which is one of the set of paintings dedicated to the events of Polish History:
Finally, we can enjoy some very beautiful mosaics represented on the floors like this one:
I would have never said that this castle hid these mathematica joys. Enjoy them!
Location: Castle of Warsaw (map)