Beyond Numbers is both a permanent exhibition at theMaryland Science Center and an exhibitionthat will be travelling to museums around the country. A schedule of venuesfollows a description of the exhibition.
The culmination of more than three years of collaborative efforts between thestaff of the Maryland Science Center and the mathematics faculty from TheGeorge Washington University, Beyond Numbers offers engaginginteractive opportunities that explode visitors' preconceptions of whatmathematics is and how their interests and skills relate to it. The exhibitis arranged in three interrelated thematic sections, providing a unifyingframework through which mathematics can be explored and enjoyed.
In Discovering Patterns, visitors learn that mathematics reveals andexplains patterns and relationships. The activities are drawn from commoneveryday experiences, but are enriched with examples from other cultures.There is the opportunity to walk into a Fibonacci spiral, to design your ownfractal landscape, to measure an infinite coastline, and to look over Escher'sshoulder as he analyzes the tilings in the Alhambra Palace and gains insightsthat radically transform his art. mathematics is the key to understanding thedifference between patterns. There are 17 major interactives in the"Discovering Patterns" section.
In Solving Problems, visitors try their hands at finding solutions tonumerous problems they probably never thought of as math before. Challenge:position ten fire stations to best service a city but conserve resources.Challenge: plan an itinerary that visits 13 cities aroung the globe andreturns you home in the shortest distance. Challenge: match people's skillsand interests to particular tasks as you manage a neighborhood block party.Challenge: plan your morning routine, and then consider planning a project ascomplex as the Apollo space program using the same principles. Mathematics,visitors learn, helps determine if a problem is solvable, and what the bestsolution might be. There are 12 major interactives in the "Solving Problems"section.
In Playing with Abstractions, the creative, imaginative side ofmathematics breaks forth in dancing computer animations, intriguingsculptures, fanciful puzzles, and interactive models and experiments.Visitors take an imaginary journey through the loops and turns of a knot.They confront a strangely twisted band they can hold in their hand, and provethat it has only one edge and one side. Visitors can discover identicalshadows in the projections of dissimilar objects. And they can explore whathappens in a world where objects can twist, stretch, shrink, and turn insideout. Visitors find unexpected connections among a number of basicmathematical concepts, and learn that math actually involves creative play.There are 18 major interactives in the "Playing with Abstractions" section.
February--April 1997: New York Hall of Science, Corona, NY
June--August 1997: Science Central, Fort Wayne, IN
October--December 1997: open
February--April 1998: Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, IL
June--August 1998: open
October--December 1998: Cranbrook Institute of Science, Bloomfield Hills, MI
February--April 1999: Louisville Science Center, Louisville, KY
June--August 1999: open
October--December 1999: Great Lakes Science Center, Cleveland, OH
February--April 2000: Science Museum of Virginia, Richmond, VA
June--August 2000: open
October--December 2000: open