News and Events

The Science Museum’s Mathematics Gallery officially opens

Charlotte S Charlotte Schofield UKIMEA Press Office,Leeds
8 December 2016

The Science Museum has opened its pioneering new gallery, Mathematics: The Winton Gallery, which explores how mathematicians have shaped the modern world.

Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, the new gallery spans 400 years of human ingenuity and brings mathematical history to life. Arup provided all of the engineering design and the lighting design for the gallery.

Fluid lighting was integrated with static lighting to showcase the mathematical significance of a full size 1929 Handley Page aircraft – a key feature of the gallery. The lighting scheme follows the aerodynamic field of the plane, and the main generative element is the propeller of the plane, which determines the motion.

"We aimed to make the lighting in the gallery as ‘visitor experience’ focused as possible. We created a memorable space using different lighting techniques to depict turbulence and flow lines. This was an exceptional project to be part of. We have been able to highlight complex principles of mathematics and physics in a spectacular way.

- Giulio Antonutto-Foi, Lead Lighting Designer, Arup

As well as the Handley Page aircraft, the gallery is home to a variety of other objects including artefacts, tools and hand-held instruments, dating from the Renaissance to the present day. Each object has been selected to tell powerful stories about how mathematics has shaped and been shaped by some of our most fundamental human concerns – from trade and travel to war, peace, life, death, form and beauty.

The Science Museum has set out on a journey to create a visitor experience which is both imaginative and informative. This amazing space has been created by wonderfully talented architects and engineers and demonstrates the ‘the beauty of maths’, which is fundamental to both our professions. The engineering behind these spaces is part of a far bigger story.

- Andy Lerpiniere, Associate Director, Arup

Arup has also provided engineering services to the Science Museum’s Wonderlab Gallery and are currently providing structural, building and environment services for the Medicine Gallery.