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Architecture

  • 30 St Mary Axe as seen from above
    You can’t take a tour of London and not notice one of the most iconic elements of the skyline – 30 St Mary Axe – otherwise known as the Gherkin. The design and construction of this striking building would not have been possible without mathematics. In fact its tapered curved shape and spectacular construction all rely on the strength of the humble triangle.
  • From the Millennium Bridge you get an excellent view of the iconic curves of 30 St Mary Axe (otherwise known as the Gherkin) and the Shard. How many more pieces of curved glass are there in the round, curved Gherkin than in the flat, angled Shard? The answer is just one. The only curved piece of glass in the Gherkin is the curved panel at the very top. Instead its curved form is created with hundreds of flat panels of glass.
  • St Paul's Cathedral
    One of London's most loved landmarks, St Paul's Cathedral, has looked over the city for more than three centuries. And hidden within its dome is an intriguing example of the interplay between maths and architecture.
  • The Sheldonian Theatre
    The fascinating and inspired mathematics behind the construction of the Sheldonian Theatre allowed it to have the largest unsupported roof the world of the 17th century had ever seen.
  • The Beehive, St John's College, Oxford
    In St John’s College, Oxford, one of the buildings is hexagonal in shape. Was this hexagonal structure a whim of the architect? Why are most buildings square? What does all of this have to do with bees?
  • The egg-shaped dome of the Hong Kong Space Museum (East Wing)
    "This dome has got to be a hemisphere!" my friend protested the other day. "No! It's actually egg-shaped," I said, showing her the photo on the right. Criss-crossed with fine lines on its surface, the "Pineapple Bun" in Tsim Sha Tsui has overlooked Victoria Harbour for three decades. The building was the avant-garde in the city when it opened in 1980, but the maths behind this bizarre piece of architecture has been obscure.
  • Juan Bravo - Segovia
    A beautiful walk around Segovia down town enjoying the sgraffiti on the different facades. Segovia is a city located in the geographical centre of Spain, renown for its Roman Aqueduct. It is a World Heritage Site since 1985.
  • The Gateway Arch, St. Louis Missouri
    The Gateway Arch in St Louis was built as a monument to commemorate the pioneering spirit of the explorers who forged the westward expansion of the United States. As we stand under the great arch, we too will embark on a journey, an exploration into the realm of hyperbolic trigonometry as we discover the majesty of the catenary curve.
  • A large, ornately painted dome, with light shining through side windows
    For more than three centuries since it rose above the ashes of the Great Fire, the dome of St Paul's Cathedral has illustrated the importance of maths in understanding our physical and philosophical worlds.
  • Sheldonian Theatre
    The fascinating and inspired mathematics behind the construction of the Sheldonian Theatre allowed it to have the largest unsupported roof the world had ever seen. Here, we demonstrate the scientific principles involved using nothing more than equipment you can find in your own kitchen cupboards.
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