If numbers come to mind when you hear the word “mathematics,” you’re not alone. That was the misconception that Charles and Ray Eames sought to undo with their groundbreaking 1961 exhibit designed for IBM: Mathematica: a World of Numbers …and Beyond.
The truth, Charles and Ray realized, is that numbers only represent one percent of the world of mathematics. From a pinball demonstration of celestial movement to a 1,000-year timeline of mathematical discoveries and influential events, Charles, Ray, and the entire Eames Office worked hard to bring mathematics to life without numbers.
That timeline, long considered an outstanding example of interactive learning, joins nine Eames short films in a new iPad application developed by IBM and the Eames Office. Entitled Minds of Modern Mathematics, the app faithfully reproduces the entire 50-foot-long installation, and features hundreds of retouched photos used in the exhibit.
If, as Charles saw it, the goal was to “let the cat out of that bag… that one of the greatest secrets of science is the genuine fun and pleasure that scientists get out of it,” then the new Minds of Modern Mathematics app opens the bag for a new generation of learners.