The
exhibition opens with some views on the scientific and/or productive
worlds of Milan and its nearby suburbs. Without pretending to be
thorough, these views intend to offer some examples
of mathematical applications to everyday life: they want visitors
to be surprised in front of employments a priori very far from the
mental picture of maths that outsiders have and they want them to
be interested in those basic mathematical pieces of knowledge explained
in the remaining part of the show.
It happens to everyone
to look for the shortest way to go from a place to another one or to be careful with one's money:
everyday life is an endless attempt to do the least effort to obtain the best result. This attempt
is particularly important as for the scientific and technological milieu where models, used to describe
phenomena and to project structures, often rely on minimum or maximum principles.
In the part dealing with maxima and minima
one can test and solve some of these problems concerning the measurement
of length, area and volume of simple geometrical figures.
Is
it possible to rebuild the tridimensional object we are dealing
with in a precise way, given no more than a plane representation
and without other pieces of information? What difficulties are coming
out if one wants to rebuild a real object starting from one of its
images? The aim of the
visualization part is to answer
these questions and prove, thanks to different tests, that the one
vision is not sufficient to rebuild the original objects.
In
some situations the shape and the size of an object, or the length
of an itinerary, are no longer important; the elements which are
in fact important in this new context are in a sense more "essential"
elements, as for example the properties of objects that wouldn't
change even if they were rubber made and if it was possible to distort
them at will (without breaking them). Topology
is the subject dealing with these situations and in the third part
tests want to give an idea of this meaning in two fields that seem
to be very far: the first one deals with knots and the second one
is inspired by the plan of Milan.
Symmetry
is a basic interpretation always used (in a more or less conscious
way) to understand the most varied messages coming from the surrounding
world. The fourth part has the purpose to point out symmetry (the
breaking of symmetry too) in Milan monuments (and not only in monuments)
and the suggested tests help people to recognize different kinds
of symmetry.
