Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My Review of the Museum of Mathematics

New York City is home to many museums covering various institutions and history -- dedicated to everything from Native American history to tenement housing to the very controversial topic of sex. It came to no surprise, well to myself anyway, that a subject most people hate/dread would land a permanent location in NYC.

The Museum of Mathematics is located on East 26th Street between 5th and Madison Avenue and is considered the standing fixture of "Math Midway" -- a traveling exhibition that first showed its factorial edge at the 2009 World Science Festival. While I enjoy a good lecture, MoMath (the Museums nickname) offers 30+ exhibits which ranges in topics from geometry to algebra. The museum's focus is to fulfill an incredible demand for hands on math programming as well as to enhance public understanding and perception of mathematics in daily life.

I visited the museum on its opening day which was December 15, 2012 and since it was their first day open to the public there were plenty of glitches. I could not create my symbol for the MoMath Logo Generator so I could not tailor my visit to identify where I was in the building. The gears for the Hyper Hyperboloid exhibit which is a chamber walled by vertical cords and when you spin in a swivel chair the cords come together to create a curved surface around you -- well the cords kept on getting stuck together. Formula Morph exhibit -- the computer kept on freezing. The velcro shapes for the Water Frieze (which was my favorite exhibit as I love things with patterns) would not stick properly. Also not all of the exhibits were opened yet. But again, this is reminiscent of having first day of school jitters -- if it can go wrong, it will. Do not let this hinder you from going.
Even with the Dr. House cane (thanks Veronica for the nickname!) with me, I enjoyed the museum. You do have to read the screens next to the particular exhibit you are viewing to understand what you are doing which in my opinion should be S.O.P at every museum but what do I know. The only problem I foresee with everything being so hands on and reliant on technology the museum might not last or hold interest -- unless you are in love with mathematics. Try it out on a Saturday or Sunday in the new year. Give the museum some time though to be open for a while. Hopefully the glitches I experienced will be gone.

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