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Mathematics: The David and Claudia Harding Gallery at the Science Museum to open 8 December 2016

Principal Funder: David and Claudia Harding Foundation

Principal Sponsor: Samsung

Major Sponsor: MathWorks

On 8 December 2016 the Science Museum will open a pioneering new gallery that explores how mathematicians, their tools and ideas have helped to shape the modern world over the last four hundred years. Mathematics: The David and Claudia Harding Gallery will place mathematics at the heart of all our lives, bringing the subject to life through remarkable stories, artefacts and design.

More than 100 treasures from the Science Museum’s world-class science, technology, engineering and mathematics collections will help tell powerful stories about how mathematical practice has shaped, and been shaped by, some of our most fundamental human concerns – including money, trade, travel, war, life and death.

From a beautiful 17th century Islamic astrolabe that uses ancient mathematical techniques to map the night sky, to an early example of the famous Enigma machine, designed to resist even the most advanced mathematical techniques for code breaking during the Second World War, each historic object has an important story to tell. Archive photography, art and film will help capture these stories, and introduce the wide range of people who made, used or were impacted by each mathematical device.

Exhibition curator, Dr David Rooney, said, “At its heart the Mathematics Gallery will tell a rich cultural story of human endeavour that has helped transform the world over the last 400 years. Mathematical practice underpins so many aspects of our lives and work, and we hope that bringing together these remarkable stories, people and exhibits will inspire visitors to think about the role of mathematics in a new light.”

Dramatically positioned at the centre of the gallery will be the Handley Page ‘Gugnunc’ aircraft, built in 1929 for a competition to construct a safe aircraft. Ground-breaking aerodynamic research influenced the wing design of this experimental aircraft, helping to transform public opinion about the safety of flying and to secure the future of the aviation industry. This aeroplane highlights perfectly the central theme of the gallery about how mathematical practice is driven by, and influences, real–world concerns and activities.

Mathematics defines Zaha Hadid Architects’ design for the gallery. Inspired by the Handley Page aircraft, the gallery is laid out using principles of mathematics & physics. These principles also inform the three-dimensional curved surfaces representing the patterns of airflow that would have streamed around this aircraft.

Patrik Schumacher, Partner at Zaha Hadid Architects, said: “Mathematics was part of Zaha Hadid’s life from a young age and has always been the foundation of her architecture. We look forward to the design of the Science Museum’s Mathematics Gallery, alongside the wonderful stories it will hold, helping to bring the subject to life for millions of visitors of all ages. This gallery is an important part of Zaha’s legacy in London and I am sure it will inspire visitors for many years to come.”

The Mathematics Gallery has been made possible through an unprecedented donation from long-standing supporters of science, David and Claudia Harding. The Science Museum is now pleased to announce that Samsung will join them as Principal Sponsor. In this role, Samsung is supporting the Science Museum to increase young people’s interest and enjoyment in maths, as part of their wider Citizenship Programme to help everyone get excited about technology and science.

Russell Taylor, Vice President Corporate Marketing, Samsung Electronics UK & Ireland, said, “At Samsung, we believe in creating technology that empowers people, helping to unlock the endless possibilities of the world around us. Mathematics is very much at the heart of this innovation, and so we are thrilled to be supporting the launch of this new gallery, and hope our technology will also help inspire people to delve more deeply into this fascinating subject.”

Mathematics: The David and Claudia Harding Gallery will open on 8 December 2016. The gallery has also received generous support from MathWorks as Major Sponsor, with additional support from Adrian and Jacqui Beecroft, Iain and Jane Bratchie, the Keniston-Cooper Charitable Trust, Dr Martin Schoernig, Steve Mobbs and Pauline Thomas.

Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London Open daily, 10-6pm


About the Science Museum  As the home of human ingenuity, the Science Museum’s world-class collection forms an enduring record of scientific, technological and medical achievements from across the globe. Welcoming over 3 million visitors a year, the Museum aims to make sense of the science that shapes our lives, inspiring visitors with iconic objects, award-winning exhibitions and incredible stories of scientific achievement. More information can be found at

About Curator Dr David Rooney  Mathematics: The David and Claudia Harding Gallery has been curated by Dr David Rooney, who was responsible for the award-winning 2012 Science Museum exhibition Codebreaker: Alan Turing’s Life and Legacy as well as developing galleries on time and navigation at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. David writes and speaks widely on the history of technology and engineering. His critically acclaimed first book, Ruth Belville: The Greenwich Time Lady, was described by Jonathan Meades as “an engrossing and eccentric slice of London history”, and by the Daily Telegraph as “a gem of a book”. He has recently authored Mathematics: How It Shaped Our World, which will be released in December to accompany the new Mathematics Gallery, and is currently writing a political history of traffic.

About the David and Claudia Harding Foundation  Over the past five years the David and Claudia Harding Foundation has donated approaching £40 million to a whole spectrum of scientific, academic and humanitarian causes around the world. The Foundation has made major donations to research into the physics of sustainability (The Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge), medicine (Cancer Research UK to support the Francis Crick Institute in London) and to risk literacy and statistics education (The Max Planck Institute in Berlin). While encouraging and supporting scientific research and education may be its major focus, the Foundation also supports many smaller charities and projects working with the underprivileged and disabled, and those providing social and medical care for children and adults in both the UK and the developing world, disaster relief, the environment and help for individuals in art, music and sport.

About Samsung’s Citizenship Programmes  Samsung is committed to help close the digital divide and skills gap in the UK. Samsung Digital Classrooms in schools, charities/non-profit organisations and cultural partners provide access to the latest technology. Samsung is also providing the training and maintenance support necessary to help make the transition and integration of the new technology as smooth as possible. Samsung also offers qualifications and training in technology for young people and teachers through its Digital Academies. These initiatives will inspire young people, staff and teachers to learn and teach in new exciting ways and to help encourage young people into careers using technology. Find out more: 

About MathWorks  MathWorks is the leading developer of mathematical computing software. MATLAB, the language of technical computing, is a programming environment for algorithm development, data analysis, visualisation, and numeric computation. Simulink is a graphical environment for simulation and Model-Based Design for multidomain dynamic and embedded systems. Engineers and scientists worldwide rely on these product families to accelerate the pace of discovery, innovation, and development in automotive, aerospace, electronics, financial services, biotech-pharmaceutical, and other industries. MATLAB and Simulink are also fundamental teaching and research tools in the world's universities and learning institutions. Founded in 1984, MathWorks employs more than 3000 people in 15 countries, with headquarters in Natick, Massachusetts, USA. For additional information, visit

About Discover South Kensington  Discover South Kensington brings together the Science Museum and other leading cultural and educational organisations to promote innovation and learning. South Kensington is the home of science, arts and inspiration. Discovery is at the core of what happens here and there is so much to explore every day.