How can we raise the profile of maths?
Maths is a heavyweight subject that commands respect in some countries and not in others.
Although everyone recognises the importance of maths, it seems as if in the UK we are constantly having to fight its corner.
Maths has always suffered from a poor image problem because of the fixed mindset approach many hold about their own maths ability. We are always fighting this problem.
The cultural problem we have towards maths isn’t something we suffer elsewhere. We value other subjects and give them status. We build museums to them and visit them in huge numbers.
We have a fabulous Science Museum in London and this does sterling work but it’s stuck in the capital and inaccessible to most of the nation. Great if you live in London but not so great if you live north of the Watford Gap.
There are of course other science museums in the country but nothing on the scale of this gem on Exhibition Road, South Kensington.
But what about maths?
Where is the Maths Museum? Not even London has one. Okay so the Science Museum have been very kind and given Maths a gallery of its own but that’s not enough! Maths needs a whole building and centre all to itself!
There aren’t that many places in the world that do have a dedicated museum of maths but there is one in New York (I know, it’s a bit far to go for a school visit) and it is something we could and should replicate here….and make it central – Birmingham would be just grand.
The National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) is an award winning museum that highlights the role of mathematics in illuminating the patterns and structures all around us. Its dynamic exhibits, gallery, and programs are designed to stimulate inquiry, spark curiosity, and reveal the wonders of mathematics.
Maths World UK – Make It Happen
We need to get behind any initiative that promotes the idea of building a national maths museum. Actually, museum can sound quite stuffy so perhaps Maths Discovery Centre would be better.
But there is an organisation that is just as restless as me about maths not having a physical building on the map “where you can go to experience the full joy, wonder and power of mathematics.”
There is a charity we can put our weight and interest behind and it is called Maths World UK and it is precisely their aim “to establish an exciting, interactive Discovery Centre showcasing the patterns, structures, discoveries, applications and people of Mathematics.”
They want to build a maths world made up of different interactive hands-on and minds-on zones suitable for all ages. The really exciting part about their vision is that this will be a meeting place that will…
host mathematics festivals, lectures and workshops, theatre performances and multi-media shows, and will house temporary exhibitions. It will store mobile shows which can travel round other museums and discovery centres.
Blimey, this sounds like I’m in maths heaven….we’ve got to make this happen!
One request though, take it North, London gets everything and there are major UK cities deserving of such a place.
To join Maths World UK and show your interest then take a look here.
If you could take your class to a Maths Discovery Centre then would you do it if one was available?
Of course you would and that’s why we need one, to make maths a destination but also the gateway to new discoveries. Visit Maths World UK on Twitter @MathsWorldUK