More mathematical adventures


In early August I thumbed through a copy of The New Yorker idly wondering which article I’d like to read when the name “Glen Whitney” popped out. A close friend of mine from graduate school is named Glen Whitney. Could it be the same person? Sure enough, with the article called Math-hattan, it had to be! The article talks about his efforts to create a math museum and describes the math tours he is currently giving of Manhattan.

The museum itself is still in the planning stages, but the exhibit Math Midway gathered a lot of press during its tour this summer. I love the picture of Glen riding the square wheeled tricycle that’s part of the exhibit. (Before looking at the pictures, how did they succeed in making the ride smooth?) Like the  Bay Area Mathematical Adventures series, this exhibit is great outreach. I hope eventually it will come west.

In graduate school, I found Glen’s enthusiasm for many things, particularly for mathematics, inspiring and infectious. It is great to see him so successfully pursuing this dream.


  1. Glen is awesome! And he’s making great progress on that dream:

  2. Daniel – That’s a great post you wrote! It makes me regret even more that I was not able to go east this summer to catch the exhibit!

  3. I would love to see someone promote a mathematics museum here in the Bay Area. Too often science museums and other science-oriented displays for the public try to make things “math free” or at least minimize it in order to keep from scaring people off. But I think it would be a great service to show, as Whitney does, that math is not merely everywhere, it can be genuinely exciting and fun.

    The link to the square-wheeled tricycle made me recall an exhibit at the Exploratorium many years ago featuring a toy with wheels that, while not square, were definitely not round, either. They were sort of like triangles with the corners rounded off, if memory serves. In spite of their shape, the toy rolled smoothly across a flat surface.

  4. […] theme reminded me that I’ve been meaning to describe and send to the math factory folks  a suggestion for an exhibit in the math museum. Instead, I’ll first write about it […]

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