Eating dinner at the Museum of Science

Mathematica exhibitLast night’s catered Media Lab sponsor dinner was at the Museum of Science. I can’t tell you how funny it is to be playing with an exhibit, pressing buttons to adjust the speed of an animated school of fish, and have someone step up to you with a tray of treats and say, “Spanakopita bite?”

My favorite exhibit, hands down, is the “Mathematica” exhibit, which, I just learned, was designed by Charles and Ray Eames. Figures.

Hyperboloid of Revolution exhibit

My favorite part of that exhibit is the Hyperboloid of Revolution. It’s beautiful and elegantly simple. (short video — 6.5 MB)

The sign says:


It is an interesting fact that a moving straight line can describe the exact shape of a surface with compound curvature.

This model is a demonstration of a line sweeping out the surface of a hyperboloid. The curved slot is a profile of the surface, called a hyperbola.

October 10, 2007. Boston/Cambridge, media lab. 1 Comment.

One Comment

  1. Matthias replied:

    I remember when Mathematica opened. I think I was in high school at the time, and heavily into math. The exhibit was great. But then it never, ever changed, and there’s only so many times you can watch a bell curve being fitted by falling marbles or a mechanical arrow traversing a giant ceiling-mounted Möbius surface. I guess it’s hard to make an exhibit about the latest developments in 2nd-order metamorphic topologies in k-dimensional algebraic Hausdorff manifolds (I made that up), but still.

    October 14th, 2007 at 8:36 pm. Permalink.

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