THE MUSEUM OF MATH:
Editors Note: The following submission was written by Gabriel W. (’15) for his precalculus class. It’s something relevant to all math and science students, a review of America’s first museum of math, MoMath.
My apartment building is just two doors down from the Museum of Math. However, after passing it every single day on my way to and from school, I had never been inside. I selfishly associated it with obstructions between my house and the subway: strollers, large families and tourists, and thus never felt a strong desire to go inside. But when I did go inside, I began to realize not only how important the museum is for the neighborhood, but also how important it is for the field of math. The typical demographic of its visitors are 30-40 year old parents and their 6-10 year old kids. Upon this realization I understood that having math museums is a vital necessity in a society because it presents the importance and cool factor of mathematics in a fun and tangible way. It does so by extending beyond the equations, formulas and rules you learn in class. For example instead of just learning equations for how the steepness of a slope affects the speed of something rolling down it, the “Tracks of Galileo” exhibit allows the visitor to manipulate a track with a small cart rolling down it to see the fastest way the cart can travel to the bottom of a hill. This manifests math, or mathematical physics, into a fun interactive experiment. That theme is seen in every part of the museum from the "Tracks of Galileo" to the “Structure Studio.” My favorite part of the museum was the Painting station. Lined up behind young men half my age, I waited with burning excitement when I saw that the Painting station allows you to use symmetry to make amazing patterns on a digital canvas. I have to say it was a lot more fun than painting on a real canvas and as somebody who’s slightly OCD, and thus loves symmetry, I found it to be very relaxing. I’ll admit that in an advanced math class it’s hard to always find math relaxing, so when I realized at the museum that math is a lot more fun than it seems when taking a test, it somehow made me more excited to take tests, because if I can understand math better maybe I can understand its cool applications better as well. Overall I loved the museum and I no longer look at it as a tourist attraction. I highly recommend visiting it; students can get in for $9.00 if they present proper identification, and if you end up going let me know and I will make the treacherous thirty second journey from my house to the museum to engage in the fun applications of math once again.