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One Math Museum, Many Variables

July 5, 2011

“There are all sorts of myths about mathematics out there,” said Glen Whitney in a recent article about the Museum of Mathematics in  The New York Times.

"Math is hard, math is boring, math is for boys, math doesn’t matter in real life," said Whitney. "All these are cultural myths that we want to blow apart.”

Whitney hopes to do that with the nation's first Museum of Mathematics, which is slated to open next year. He believes that after tens of thousands flock to the museum, at 11 East 26th St., in Manhattan, they just might be inspired to learn a lot more about geometry, numbers, tiling patterns, and other mathematical notions.

“We want to expose the breadth and the beauty of mathematics,” said Whitney, a former mathematics instructor and hedge fund manager. The museum represents his search for a career  with a “more direct socially redeeming value."

Whitney's vision enticed $22 million in contributions, including $2 million from Google. “They’re a dedicated bunch of idealists,” said Sylvain E. Cappell (New York University), who serves on the museum's advisory council.

After people plunge into mathematics, Whitney imagines their breaking-down and solving pieces of cutting-edge mathematical research. “We want to be a place where that spark can ignite,” he declared.

Source: The New York Times (June 27, 2011)

Start Date: 
Tuesday, July 5, 2011