A mathematics museum soon in Paris

Maison Poincaré, the first museum in France entirely devoted to mathematics and its applications, will be inaugurated on September 27 and will then open its doors to the public on September 30 in the Latin Quarter, in Paris.

The project for this mathematics museum was led for almost ten years by Cédric Villani, famous mathematician who won the Fields Medal in 2010 – the “Nobel” of mathematics. The latter, a former MP, worked in collaboration with Sylvie Benzoni, director of the Henri Poincaré Institute (IHP), in order to make this initiative a reality. “Our idea is to get school children and the public to dialogue with the researchers who attend our institute”Sylvie Benzoni told AFP.

Maison Poincaré presents itself as a response to the societal challenges of mathematics. By reintroducing maths into the common core in high school, “the ministry has noted that this is a societal issue” given that “too few students are moving towards scientific careers”explains Sylvie Benzoni. “We want to help increase the general level of mathematical culture in France, which is quite modest, even low. »

The museum is aimed at a wide audience, from 4th grade, and aims to bring to life a “unexpected experience” mathematics. The permanent exhibition spaces are organized around six action verbs: connect, become, invent, model, share and visualize. Thanks to videos, games, manipulations and audio devices, visitors will be able to discover maths from an angle intended to be innovative and interactive.

“Modelling” space in the Maison Poincaré in Paris.

© Institut Maison Poincaré, Atelier Novembre, Thibaut Voisin

Different immersive experiences are offered. Visitors will thus be able to experience a “formula whisperer” which will immerse them in the language of mathematics, or observe a collection of geometric objects photographed by Man Ray in the 1930s, while a spherical sculpture named Rulpidon will be presented, to illustrate the nine color theorem.

The museum also highlights notable figures in mathematics, paying particular attention to parity while “mathematicians are only 20%; figure that hasn’t changed for ten years”, according to Sylvie Benzoni. Among other personalities, we will find Cédric Villani himself, but also the English pianist-mathematician Eugenia Cheng or the doctor of physics David Louapre, known for his YouTube channel “Astonishing Sciences”.

The 900 m² museum is located in the Jean-Perrin building of the Institut Henri Poincaré. The renovation work, costing a total of 15 million euros, was partly financed by the City of Paris (8 million euros), as well as by the Île-de-France region, the State, the CNRS, the France Relance plan and various sponsors such as BNP Paribas, RTE, Thales, IBM and Criteo.

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