Tag: Mathematica

31
Jul

ReAppreciating Mathematica

Among the historical Visual SenseMaking work that inspires Humantific is the astonishing output of the Eames Office. Pictured is the cover and inside images of a rare explanation booklet that accompanied the 1964 Mathematica exibition.

The Eames Office, led by Charles and Ray Eames, created some of the most memorable Visual SenseMaking work of the 1940s, 50s, 60s, & 70s that still inspires many of us in this business today. Created without computers, the output of the Eames Office is truly staggering.

Mathematica: A world of numbers…and beyond was the first major exhibition produced by the Eames Office. Sponsored by IBM, the purpose of the 3,000 foot exhibition was to stimulate interest in mathematics by visually explaining fundamental concepts. Mathematica was installed in a new science wing at the California Museum of Science and Industry in Los Angeles.

How Mathematica was described in 1964: “Mathematics has been called ‘the Queen of Sciences’, for its intrinsic beauty and because it has mothered a host of other sciences. Traditionally, its branches have been arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, statistics and logic. It forms the base of many practical sciences such as physics, chemistry, geology and meteorology. It provides the foundation for cultural arts such as music, art and architecture. It is rapidly being adapted as a basic tool by the social sciences and humanities—for studies of population, political trends and economic theories.

The progress of mathematics and devices for calculating and computing has been closely interrelated since the invention of the abacus. Today’s modern computers solve in seconds problems that would have taken mathematicians months or years just two decades ago. 

IBM hopes that this book based on the exhibit will help communicate the scope of mathematics and the work mathematicians do.”

The original Mathematica exhibition is now owned by, and on display at, the New York Hall of Science.

Image Source: Mathematica: A world of numbers…and beyond. 1964. Designed by the Eames Office. Humantific Collection, New York.