Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Mathematics Museum To Open In Manhattan

Unknown Lamer posted more than 3 years ago | from the but-mom-who-uses-math-in-real-life dept.

Education 80

eldavojohn writes "If math gives you a raging brainer prepare yourself for MoMath opening next year to 'expose the breadth and the beauty of mathematics' in New York City. After raising $22 million from donors, Glen Whitney wants to challenge the average American's perception of mathematics. Whitney has proven himself with Math Midway a sort of traveling carnival exhibit, and prior to that worked on algorithms at Renaissance Technologies."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Another museum to consider. (-1, Offtopic)

Dr.Bob,DC (2076168) | more than 3 years ago | (#36600604)


It's nice to see places that help popularize subject matter most would consider mundane.

If any readers are interested in the fascinating history of spinal care, the Palmer College of Chiropractic has three locations of the Palmer Museum of Chiropractic History [palmer.edu] which are open to the public.

It starts with DD Palmer back in 1895 when he discovered the vertebral subluxation, and how he cured a deaf man's hearing. From there it carries on to his son, BJ Palmer, and goes into depth covering his studies and important research.

If you're ever near one of these locations (IA, CA, FL), it's well worth the time to visit. Without the Palmers' great insight into spinal health and subluxations, many people today would be crippled, deaf, cancerous, with heart disease or dead.

Take care,
Bob

Re:Another museum to consider. (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36600792)

Thus demonstrating the principle of the limit of information value as the intelligence of the poster goes to zero.

Re:Another museum to consider. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36601170)

his son, BJ Palmer, ...

I bet his dad was a hilarious guy.

Entrance fee (4, Funny)

RedACE7500 (904963) | more than 3 years ago | (#36600678)

Visitors must pay $3.14 to enter.

Re:Entrance fee (2)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 3 years ago | (#36600708)

Is that in octal notation or in decimal?

Re:Entrance fee (1)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36600784)

In the olden days (Apple ][), "$" was hex.

Re:Entrance fee (1)

mswhippingboy (754599) | more than 3 years ago | (#36603224)

In the olden days (Apple ][), "$" was hex.

How prescient. Now "$" means Apple.

Re:Entrance fee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36601118)

Judging from the digits, it could also be base-5.

Re:Entrance fee (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#36600824)

I was thinking more along the lines of

For Math nerds: $

For Everyone else: $10

Re:Entrance fee (1)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36601202)

This is Manhattan we're talking about, I would expect the price to be something more in line with local prices, like a googol.

Re:Entrance fee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36601210)

Is anything more insulting to math nerds than pi jokes?

Re:Entrance fee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36601278)

e jokes

Re:Entrance fee (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 3 years ago | (#36604280)

pie= mmmm

Re:Entrance fee (1)

NoSig (1919688) | more than 3 years ago | (#36601390)

Pi^2 jokes.

Re:Entrance fee (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 3 years ago | (#36602934)

No, 3.1415926... ;)

Re:Entrance fee (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#36605224)

I needed two tickets. I paid $7, got $22 change back.

Re:Entrance fee (1)

jwigo (1868782) | more than 3 years ago | (#36608172)

Tau-ists pay $6.28.

Fun with math (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 3 years ago | (#36600680)

I sure hope that they do provide some interesting insights when it comes to how Fermat's theorem was solved and a lot of stuff that can range from weird to simple but interesting.

And there are a lot of math out there that's still waiting to get solved. Some of it may even have an impact on our daily life.

Re:Fun with math (2)

pablo_max (626328) | more than 3 years ago | (#36600722)

I rather hope it doesn't serve as museum from a time when the US was interested in and invested in math and science.

Re:Fun with math (1)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36601154)


Yeah, JFK's speeches were cool but this isn't the place for them.

Re:Fun with math (1)

Normal Dan (1053064) | more than 3 years ago | (#36600768)

Is there anything that could potentially be solved by someone who enjoys dabbling in a bit of math, or do you need an advanced degree just to understand the problem?

Re:Fun with math (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 3 years ago | (#36601072)

There are problems that are rather simple to set up and understand, but requires horrible math to solve.

And there are problems that are extremely confusing but end up in a very simple math formula.

Just look at the formula E=mc2 - it's a very simple formula, but it takes something to actually come up with it.

In construction work where you build a curved bridge between two points you may actually have a rather complex set of mathematics if you want to optimize the construction. Some bridge constructions were "impossible" until computers were available since doing the math by hand would be too prone to errors.

Re:Fun with math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36604706)

It's been a while since I've studied it, but as I recall E=mc2 (and in fact most of special relativity) can be derived using nothing more advanced than high school algebra and geometry. Wrapping your head around some of the conclusions is much tougher!

Re:Fun with math (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36602162)

Is there anything that could potentially be solved by someone who enjoys dabbling in a bit of math, or do you need an advanced degree just to understand the problem?

The most obvious /. car analogy is any amateur can build a completely customized car, even a race car, given enough time and effort, even if the major car companies would be completely uninterested and are staffed exclusively with professionals who have advanced degrees.

I would think an amateur could be successful if focused on an extremely narrow little area for some years, perhaps cryptographic hashes, some peculiar tiny aspect of number theory, maybe a sticky computer science Knuth style analysis problem, strange geometry/topology problems...

The hard part with math (especially CS and especially CS crypto) is learning what not to do. Also crypto is an area where the greatest advances are made by destroying other peoples algorithms, not by building your own.

Re:Fun with math (3)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36601990)

I sure hope that they do provide some interesting insights when it comes to how Fermat's theorem was solved

The last PBS "NOVA" show I ever watched was theoretically about that very topic. Unfortunately, it was 60 minutes about how messy his desk is, yet its such a nice house and yard, and he has a wife and kids, and he certainly is brave to try something difficult instead of sitting at home and watching Oprah reruns, and he has pet cats, and similar such daytime talk show garbage. I was literally sitting at the edge of my couch drinking an energy drink waiting for some "math" explanation of the FLT proof using computer graphics, maybe by The Man Himself, and then I get .... Roll the Credits! .. and later tonight, on Lawrence Welk ... !

I fear, greatly, that this will be a museum about mathematicians not about math. Look, we have one of Newton's hair curlers! Over here, a life size diorama of Erdos. A statue of Pythagoras over here! A poster of the village Srinivasa Ramanujan grew up in! We are Smart because we spray painted a large Square Root sign on the Wall!

And then, sadly, on the walkway to the exit, a stream of bubbas telling each other how much they learned about math today. How horribly sad, and I hope none of my predictions come true, although I expect them to.

Re:Fun with math (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#36602912)

And there are a lot of math out there that's still waiting to get solved. Some of it may even have an impact on our daily life.

I have this truly remarkable solution to all these problems out there waiting to be solved. But, alas, this posting is too small to contain it.

Signed,

Dr Jack Kevorkian

Re:Fun with math (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 3 years ago | (#36604022)

You certainly must have found some way of opening an interdimensional portal.

Hope they call it 3M (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 3 years ago | (#36600740)

Hope they call it 3M instead of MMM (Manhattan Mathematics Museum).

Re:Hope they call it 3M (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36600908)

M cubed

Re:Hope they call it 3M (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36601156)

It's MoMath. They actually say it in the summary and links to their website. It's like MoMA.

Re:Hope they call it 3M (1)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36601188)


Calling it MoMa is a smart idea. It means they can use the same letterhead for the times they have to communicate in Ebonics.

Re:Hope they call it 3M (1)

djdanlib (732853) | more than 3 years ago | (#36604534)

There already IS a MoMA, though: the Museum of Modern Art.

Re:Hope they call it 3M (1)

samoanbiscuit (1273176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36605186)

Is that a dog whistle I hear?

Re:Hope they call it 3M (2)

herks (1144039) | more than 3 years ago | (#36601304)

MMM is Marine,Marauder,Medivac. It will be too confusing. 3M is much better.

Re:Hope they call it 3M (2)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 3 years ago | (#36601570)

3M is Post-It notes.

Re:Hope they call it 3M (1)

John Courtland (585609) | more than 3 years ago | (#36602200)

Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing.

Re:Hope they call it 3M (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 3 years ago | (#36602592)

And Fluorinert, and Thinsulate, and Scotchgard, and Scotchlite, and Scotch-Brite, and Nexcare, and Filtrete, and Command, and Nextel, and ....

Re:Hope they call it 3M (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 3 years ago | (#36603026)

Probably can't because of http://www.3m.com/ [3m.com] ... :(

museum domaine (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 3 years ago | (#36631176)

but www.3m.museum is free

Manhattan Mathematics Museum Manifests (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36600758)

better headline

Can you blame them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36600764)

For everyone who finds mathematics incomprehensible, boring, pointless, or all of the above, Glen Whitney wants to prove you wrong.

That's how math is taught: rote memorization, drudgery, and most of the time, with no applications to the real World - it's just "solve this problem for 'x'"

Mr. Whitney, a former math professor who parlayed his quantitative skills into a job at a Long Island hedge fund. He quit in late 2008 with connections to deep pockets and a quest to make math fun and cool.

There ya go! How about showing people, especially kids, that you can get rich with math - there are other avenues besides entertainment like insipid reality shows.

but Mr. Whitney’s museum, nicknamed MoMath, will be devoid of dinosaurs and planetarium shows and will instead focus on the abstract.

Ugh! No, no , no! Add in applications! Show how money grows. Show exponential growth. Show probability. Show how we're manipulated by statistics by people with an agenda.

God! Abstract? People are just going to go "Oooooooo! Aaaaahhhhhhh!' and leave with nothing learned.

Re:Can you blame them? (1)

WhirlwindMonk (1975382) | more than 3 years ago | (#36601134)

You need a combination of both, though I believe that pure abstract would be superior to pure application. Teaching pure application leads to rote memorization. "This is how you solve this specific problem. This is how you solve this one." and so on and so forth. It leads to people who know precisely what they're told and nothing more, and when they encounter a problem that isn't within that scope, they dismiss it with any of a number of foolish reasons. By teaching abstract, you equip people to take what they know about one thing and apply it to something else. That said, abstract without application leaves many people (foolishly) assuming that there is no application. Focus on the abstract, make sure people understand it. Then show them how to apply that abstract to an application themselves. Hopefully then we can avoid the constant, insipid questions that have answers that should be obvious with just a single layer of abstraction from the previous concept. If not...well, the world still needs janitors and garbage men...

Re:Can you blame them? (1)

Sinthet (2081954) | more than 3 years ago | (#36601596)

For me, the drudgery suddenly became a lot more interesting after learning about the Mandelbrot set and its relationship to Julia sets. Their infinity and the beautiful patterns which derive from it made it more interesting to find points within a Julia set by setting up a quadratic. Hopefully, this museum will be able to convey the beauty of mathematics, which can often be the missing ingredient in classrooms, since understanding the beauty requires the knowledge of getting through drudgery.

Statistics is in a way, a great place to start. Most of it doesn't require any major mathematical skills to comprehend, and people would certainly get a kick out of some of those manipulations, or at least examples of them.

Couple this with some stories/examples of "cool stuff you can do with math", like some simple cryptography, and I think you'll be able to reach out to some people who'd otherwise (like me, before the whole Mandelbrot set thing) continue pretty much ignoring mathematics as anything more than an obligatory school subject.

Re:Can you blame them? (1)

Reed Solomon (897367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36607062)

this is true. I had no love for math until I took computer sciences in high school and suddenly I had a practical use for it. To this day I suffer from bad teaching of math, and I had to catch up to speed on my own.

Re:Can you blame them? (2)

NoSig (1919688) | more than 3 years ago | (#36601716)

Showing applications to the real world may make someone see how math is useful. However it goes counter to what Math itself is. Math is about being able to engage in and appreciate a symbolic and logical way of communicating and reasoning. Applying that to the real world has two steps: make a model to embed your real world situation into math and then derive facts from your model mathematically. The problem is that the model making isn't itself math at all, and doing math on a model will rarely show the beauty of math. That is because those models are made to fit reality and not to be mathematically interesting. Applied math and math might seem similar if you don't understand math, but they are actually very far apart.

It's like the difference between having sight and using a mirror to generate solar power. Having sight makes understanding and making mirrors a lot easier, but sight is so much richer than that. Problem is that it is very hard to explain to someone who is blind what it feels like to see. When you see abstract math you are like a blind person listening to an explanation of sight when all you really care about are mirrors. The explanation will seem weirdly obtuse and off the point, but that's because the person talking isn't talking about mirrors, he's talking about seeing.

Now it might be right that teaching someone to "get" abstract math in the course of a museum visit is a fool's errand. Still, I wish this guy luck in that goal if indeed that is his goal. However, I think the article writer simply views all math as abstract and what the museum will actually be about will be the people involved in math, it's applications and so on. Just like you wanted.

Re:Can you blame them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36604380)

Really? I thought math was the art of proof. I really hope they have an elegant proof gallery.

Take your girl out to MoMath (1)

elloGov (1217998) | more than 3 years ago | (#36600804)

One big sausage fest. As a New Yorker, I'm very much looking forward to it. Arts in the traditional sense just isn't doing it for me.

Watch them screw it up (2)

Reed Solomon (897367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36600810)

They'll do something they think is clever like announcing their opening date as "If a train is heading to Manhattan from Los Angeles to open a museum on mathematics at 50 mph, and leaves on the first friday in July 2011, and another train is heading to Manhattan for the same reason at 150 mph but departs on the following monday, which train arrives on opening day first.. and what date is it?" hurr durrr.

Re:Watch them screw it up (1)

Normal Dan (1053064) | more than 3 years ago | (#36600982)

This. Would. Be. AWESOME!

Re:Watch them screw it up (1)

Larryish (1215510) | more than 3 years ago | (#36601492)

90+ percent of math for U.S. citizens goes like this:

Eat 7 twinkies
plus 4 cheeseburgers
plus 3 pounds of french fries
plus 6 fried pies
and 1 super-jumbo diet soda
_______________
equals your big fat ass riding
a trolley through Wal-Mart

http://i.imgur.com/3N3v6.jpg [imgur.com]

Re:Watch them screw it up (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36601960)

What's a fried pie?

Re:Watch them screw it up (1)

djdanlib (732853) | more than 3 years ago | (#36604550)

I haven't been to McDonald's in ages, but I seem to recall they sell these "apple pie" things that might qualify as fried pie... for some definition of the word pie.

Re:Watch them screw it up (1)

Chibinium (1596211) | more than 3 years ago | (#36602090)

The answer is: Train A. Distance from Manhattan to LA is 2800 miles by driving, which means the first train would reach Manhattan 16 hours before the first train rolled out of bed. Good thing this wasn't on a billboard, or I would've been nerd-sniped.

Re:Watch them screw it up (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36602368)

The answer is: Train A. Distance from Manhattan to LA is 2800 miles by driving, which means the first train would reach Manhattan 16 hours before the first train rolled out of bed..

Clearly you haven't experienced the joy of Amtrak travel. Admittedly it is like paradise compared to aircraft travel, but only Amtrak can spend 10 hours puttering around greater Cleveland due to "repair work" at 5 MPH. The slowest I ever experienced was about 30 hours from downtown CHI to downtown NYC.

Re:Watch them screw it up (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 3 years ago | (#36602552)

And the answer is: The train traveling at 50 mph that left on Friday. A 72-hour lead is just *way* too big. As to what date it gets there, that depends on the exact length of the journey; obviously a train cannot follow a straight line from LA to New York. The Internet readily provides me with the straight line distance (2,462 miles) and the driving distance (2,778 miles). Railway distance should be greater than either of these, since passenger rail routes are less common than roads. It also depends on what time of the day the train leaves. However, it seem most likely that it will get there Sunday, July 3, particularly if it left Friday morning.

Re:Watch them screw it up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36607026)

Actually, the train traveling at 150mph could be coming from anywhere (it doesn't say from where).
So we cannot answer the question.

If math gives you a raging brainer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36600844)

...what does osteology give you?

UnsolvablePproblems (2)

softWare3ngineer (2007302) | more than 3 years ago | (#36600848)

I hope they show some np 'unsolvable' problems. they translate nicely into easy to understand story problems and show that we still have alot to learn even about math.

Re:UnsolvablePproblems (1)

call -151 (230520) | more than 3 years ago | (#36603600)

Part of the plan is to make sure people realize that mathematics is alive and growing, with active areas of research and isn't just a bunch of stuff people sorted out 100+ years ago. So unsolved problems in many guises will turn up.

We have one of worst educational system in world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36600906)

Most males today are dropping out of HS at an alarming rate and really only have a future has criminals since they have no skills outside of ebonics? They have no attention span that is no longer than the 120 characters of a text message. They do not read and are basically STUPID.

We have some of the dumbest people in the world as well. Outside of giving every person a cell phone, most of the people might as well live in the stone age.

If the museum is like most science museums that I have visited, they basically cater to 12 year olds. Today most 12 year olds are most likely getting laid and doing drugs do you really expect them to be interested in maths?

nice (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36600936)

I paid $32.67 for a XBOX 360 and my mom got a 17 inch Toshiba laptop for $94.83 being delivered to our house tomorrow by FedEX. I will never again pay expensive retail prices at stores. I even sold a 46 inch HDTV to my boss for $650 and it only cost me $52.78 to get. Here is the website we using to get all this stuff, GrabPenny.com

a raging brainer (1)

krgallagher (743575) | more than 3 years ago | (#36601292)

"If math gives you a raging brainer"

I must be getting old. I haven't had a raging brainer in years, unless you count that 'morning logarithm' a couple of weeks back...

IBM used to have a math museum exhibit (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36601400)

Mathematica [wikipedia.org] , from 1961. It's at the New York Hall of Science now.

Re:IBM used to have a math museum exhibit (3, Interesting)

call -151 (230520) | more than 3 years ago | (#36603238)

There were three copies of the Eames exhibits- they were in various places, notably Boston and LA for many years, and are now in the New York Hall of Science (complete), Boston and Atlanta (incomplete.) My understanding is that the Eames had a lot of stipulations about how the exhibits could be displayed and they cannot be altered or updated. The NY Hall of Science guys spent a lot of time sorting out some of the broken parts of their exhibit, and are rightly proud of some of the finagling they had to do to get a few of the exhibits working again. They are the only ones who were able to get the light bulb cube for multiplication operational again as far as I know.

George Hart (3, Interesting)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 3 years ago | (#36601404)

I had the pleasure of meeting George Hart at a recent Maker Faire. George is one of the people working on getting this museum up and running. Go Google some of his art / math. It's fantastic, beautiful and fun. Also Google his daughter Vi Hart. She has a great blog and some fun YouTube videos. She's the one wearing forearm warmers at any math related gathering (don't ask).

Re:George Hart (3, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36602228)

Also Google his daughter Vi Hart

Let me guess, the other child is named Emacs? Man, if only my wife let me get away with something cool like that....

Re:George Hart (1)

HonestGenius (2319554) | more than 3 years ago | (#36606904)

I am one of his other children. Sorry, to disappoint, but we all actually have very normal names. We do however have very unique dinner table discussions on holidays. We just had one somehow evolve from playing the viola, to the effects of moving infinitely long objects.

Re:George Hart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36607430)

Before moving on to work at the Museum of Mathematics, George Hart was a professor where I go to school. He'd often do "barn buildings" where lots of students could come to help assemble his large modular (and mathematical) sculptures. One of them is now hanging above the lobby of our CS building! He's also ridiculously good at puzzles, like those blacksmith puzzles that are so infuriatingly difficult to pull apart (and even more difficult to reassemble).

And he helped me learn to juggle!

Location, location, location (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 3 years ago | (#36601444)

I hope 123 4th Street is available.

Re:Location, location, location (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36601770)

Would that be East or West 4th street? If West, it is in a neighborhood which is home to many NYU buildings including, I think, Math, Physics and Medical departments. Which might be appropriate!

Re:Location, location, location (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 3 years ago | (#36602112)

According to Google, there isn't any 123 West 4th Street. (Google shows it as the middle of an interesection.) 123 East 4th Street exists but doesn't quite look like an appropriate area. It's a small building right next to a "magic touch unisex salon": http://bit.ly/k7HaBS

Re:Location, location, location (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#36604004)

123 East 4th Street exists but doesn't quite look like an appropriate area. It's a small building right next to a "magic touch unisex salon"

Not such a big deal. The actual location, 11 East 26th Street, is a block away from the Museum of Sex.

Re:Location, location, location (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 3 years ago | (#36613228)

I actually considered visiting that during my last trip to NYC, but my wife wasn't interested. (There's a joke in there somewhere.)

Re:Location, location, location (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36602044)

Naw, that's boring. How about 271 E (yes, it has to be E) 82nd St? Just a few blocks from MoMA.

Or maybe 314 16th St?

Or 314 1st Ave?

Re:Location, location, location (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36603296)

they might rent out the recently closed "museum of sports" location (downtown manhattan).

+1 (1)

bunhed (208100) | more than 3 years ago | (#36601736)

very cool idea

Museum Incompleteness Theorem (1)

Fractal Dice (696349) | more than 3 years ago | (#36602590)

They're missing a number. Proof is left as an exercise for the visitor.

CAUTION! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#36602740)

Those bast8rds kicked me out for dividing by zero!

Re:CAUTION! (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36607444)

at least you got in. they wouldn't take admission fee in imaginary dollars.

Average? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36604096)

Glen Whitney wants to challenge the average American's perception of mathematics.

Yeah, like, good luck with that

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?