Museum of Mathematics
Here's a brain teaser: Make math a rockin' good time. Solving that conundrum is precisely what founder and Executive Director Glen Whitney set out to do with Manhattan's new Museum of Mathematics (MoMath), which opened its doors on Dec. 15, 2012. The mission: It's cool to love math. Given that the U.S. ranks well below global averages in the discipline, a booster shot in the arm of numerics couldn't come soon enough.
"We want to show that math is fun, that math is beautiful, and that math will get you a really good job," Whitney told members of the press on Dec. 13. That's for sure. Whitney used to put his calculating mind to work for Renaissance Technologies, an extremely successful hedge fund company based in Long Island, NY. After 10 years, he saw there might be another way to connect the dots between passion and business acumen, and MoMath was born.
So far about 30 of the museum's planned 40 exhibits are open. Visitors can grow video fractals with their own bodies, ride a square-wheeled tricycle that somehow glides like buttah, and be blown away by the patterns in a 23-foot multiplication experiment. While all ages are welcome, students in grades 4 though 8 are of particular focus -- research shows that's when many students start to lose interest in math. Colorful, interactive displays help attract young learners, while accompanying information about each concept's inventors, along with example problems to solve, help keep the discussion going.