New app: Minds of Modern Mathematics
Tom Young 120000GK47 Comments (3) Visits (8246)
In 1961 IBM did a cool thing, it sponsored Mathematica: A World of Numbers ... and Beyond, an exhibition by husband-and-wife designers Charles and Ray Eames that featured, among a number of other things, a 50 foot-long informational graphic titled Men of Modern Mathematics. The graphic laid out a nearly 1,000-year timeline of math-related events, quotations, artifacts, and, centrally, mathematicians.
Equally cool, in a recent collaboration between IBM and the Eames Office, the graphic has been reworked into a free interactive iPad app called Minds of Modern Mathematics. The app's main feature is the timeline itself, which looks back in history from the Eames' 1960 vantage point, starting with the year 999. Math was apparently off to a rough start, with Pope Sylvester II being accused of wizardry for liking science.
On the iPad the scrolling timeline is about seven feet's worth of information -- I actually measured it -- and tapping each item brings up an enlarged image that gives details about each mathematician or provides context for their discoveries. In a thoughtful use of device orientation, the app designers chose to use landscape for display of the timeline, but then they have it switch to a slideshow-style presentation of events when you rotate to portrait.
There is more to see than I am describing here. If you like math, or history, or both, you owe it to yourself to check it out. No ads, no marketing, just a history of intellectual greatness.
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