The sculpture is made from straight strings. But step inside it, and you’re surrounded by curves. A paradox? You’ve just had an encounter with exotic geometry in the form of a hyperhyperboloid.
Mind-opening experiences are the whole point of Manhattan’s Museum of Mathematics (opening this fall), which has what many consider a tough mission: teaching kids that math is exciting.
The prime mover is Glen Whitney, a former math professor and hedge-fund analyst who has raised $30 million to build what he calls a “safe place to love math.”
The subject could use some love in a country where Jimmy Buffett sings “Math Suks” and student test scores lag most industrialized nations. Whitney blames an educational mind-set that extols liberal arts as inspirational and demotes math to merely useful—ignoring “the beauty of patterns and numbers and shapes.”