Mathematics is too often perceived as dry and complex, but Mathematics: The David and Claudia Harding Gallery will tell stories that place the subject at the heart of our lives, exploring how mathematicians, their tools and ideas have helped to shape the modern world.
Designed by the world-renowned Zaha Hadid Architects, this outstanding new gallery has been made possible by the largest individual donation ever made to the Science Museum, an incredible £5 million gift from David and Claudia Harding.
The stories told in the gallery will span 400 years of human ingenuity, from the Renaissance to the present day, with objects ranging from intriguing hand-held mathematical instruments to a 1929 experimental aircraft – the largest object in the gallery. Made in Britain by Handley Page, the aircraft was designed to take off and land slowly and steeply without stalling, vital at a time when urban airfields were often shrouded in fog. Mathematics, particularly the modelling of aerodynamics and material stress, is embodied in the aircraft’s design.
Mathematics is also brought to life through the gallery’s design and architecture. The space has been imagined as a wind tunnel for the aircraft (which will hang suspended in the centre of the hall), with the layout of related exhibits following the imagined lines of airflow around it. Other mathematical concepts will be incorporated into the form of the display cases and other aspects of the gallery.
Mathematics: The David and Claudia Harding Gallery opens on 8 December 2016, curated by David Rooney, who previously curated the award-winning Codebreaker exhibition about the life and legacy of Alan Turing.
Find out more about the new gallery in a video featuring the Director of the Science Museum Ian Blatchford, David Harding and the late Zaha Hadid