Strange Surfaces

A mathematical surface model is one that follows a mathematical formula or definition, or illustrates a mathematical concept. This exhibition brings together striking and significant mathematical surface models from the 19th century with interesting and attractive models being made today.

 

The first generation of models were designed as teaching aids for students in the growing number of mathematics institutes and universities.

Notable among the modern surfaces is a set by Alan Bennett of remarkable new glass Klein bottles, one of the strangest surfaces of all.

 

The 19th century saw the revival of geometric ideas in mathematics. In post- revolutionary France Gaspard Monge taught descriptive geometry to students studying millitary architecture and engineering. One of his pupils made a set of ruled surface models around 1840. From the 1860s onwards hundreds of models were made to illustrate many areas of mathematics.

 

The largest and most innovative workshop was in Munich, where the 'furthest frontiers of research' were pursued in clay, cardboard and string.

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