Saturday night, I came across this cool web page offering Math tours in both Oxford and London England. Yes, you read that correctly! Math Tours.
The idea behind the tours is to take you around town and show you real life applications of mathematical concepts. Isn't that cool?
The tour is apply named Maths in the City and is absolutely free but requires groups of 10 to 20 people and takes about an hour. If your group is less than 10 people, they put you on a waiting list until they can create a group.
The Oxford tour begins at Rewley house which is home to the maths department. From there, they head to Sackler Library which was designed as a cylinder rather than the traditional building. Next is the Ashmolean Museum with its symmetries, followed by The Beehive, a hexagonal building. Then comes a short piece on GPS and how it shows you are where you are. Afterwards, you wander over to the Wadham College to check out the Penrose tiles. These tiles have a pattern which never repeats. These tiles also explain the structure of certain metallic crystals before finishing at The Sheldonian Theater to concentrate on the roof.
If you'd like to read more about the maths on this tour, follow the link and check it out. I found the description quite interesting.
The London Tour begins at the Tate Modern where people learn about a certain part of mathematics. From there, you head to 30 St. Mary Axe also known as the Gherkin whose tapered shape and construction is based on the triangle. The next stop is at Tate Modern to observe Jackson Pollocks artwork. His art is based on fractals. In addition, mathematical analysis can be used to tell the original from fakes. From here, you head to the Catanery chains over the Thames. This principal is used in architecture to form arcs. Then comes the Millennium Bridge which opened in 2000 and wobbled as people walked across it. You learn why it does that. The dome of St. Paul's cathedral is next with its excellent interplay between math and architecture. The final stop is to look at the topology of the London Underground.
Want to know more about this tour? Check here and learn more about the maths involved at each stop.
By the time you read this, I'll be in Honolulu attending the Kamehameha Schools Unconference. Tomorrow, the regular conference begins and I'll be presenting on using Google Maps, Google Street View and Google Earth in the Math Classroom. I'll share interesting things I learn with you in future columns.
Let me know what you think. Have a good day.