Mathematics of Planet Earth

Interactive mathematics exhibition

Why are maps always distorted? Why are sea levels rising? How can mathematical models be useful in reducing the potential impact of tsunamis on populated areas? How can math help to answer these and other highly relevant questions? The exhibition "Mathematics of Planet Earth" (MPE) has been helping to answer these queries and capturing imaginations since its launch in 2013. The Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation (HLFF) hosted the MPE at Heidelberg’s Karlstorbahnhof, which was open to the public from July 5 until August 2, 2015.

"Mathematics of Planet Earth" (MPE) is an initiative of several mathematical research organizations around the globe. Part of the massive undertaking was an international competition to produce the best open-source modules, which were selected by a jury and collected to create an exhibition in 2013. MPE made its debut at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris and has been growing ever since. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Klaus Tschira Foundation, the HLFF presented the unique exhibition.

The centerpiece at the Karlstorbahnhof were the hands-on stations produced by the Centre Sciences CCSTI of region Centre in Orleans, France. The exhibition was complemented by a gallery of fascinating mathematical images and selected crystals, generously lent from the MiMa, Museum for Minerals and Mathematics, Oberwolfach. Visitors could experiment with several interactive modules that span topics such as astronomy, fluid dynamics, the mathematics of volcanoes or glaciers and problems in cartography.

There was also a special premiere at this exhibition. The HITS, Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies, presented three exhibits: "The Habitable Zone", "Gravity Pong" and "The Moving Earth". The stations were donated to the astronomy visitor center "ESO Supernova" in Garching and can still be seen there today.

"Mathematics of Planet Earth", Juli 5 to August 2, 2015, Karlstorbahnhof Heidelberg.