Apathy at the Science Museum

On Monday I decided to show my friend B around the Science Museum on Chambers Street. I had fun showing off my lightening reflex skills (on one exhibit you have to hit the coloured lights as they appear) and my super-sheep strength (well, the pulley system may have helped) although I totally failed at making the robot drive around Mars.

While B was busy crashing driving the formula 1 car I got chatting to one of the museum curators.

Me: “So, do you have any maths exhibits?” (I knew there weren’t any, but I was hoping to angle the conversation to job opportunities…)
Curator: “Mad exhibits?”
Me: “Maths. Mathematics?”
Curator: “There are some logarithms upstairs I think.”
Me: (Looks unimpressed) “That’s it?”
Curator: “Well, maths is boring, isn’t it?”
Me: (Splutters in disbelief)

I couldn’t believe that somebody manning a science museum could so happily dismiss mathematics to (what he believed was) a member of the public. When I told him that I was a mathematician he had the courtesy to look a little sheepish (ironic, eh?) and told me I could pick up job application forms from the main reception. I wish I’d had some amazing maths demonstration I could whip out to rock his world.

It is a shame that my first real post has been a rant, but it definitely highlights the need for me to get out into the world and show everyone how interesting maths can be. On Friday I am meeting up with Peter Reid of Sci-Fun fame to design an exhibit involving non-orientable surfaces. More on that next time!

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