Maths may not have been an obvious choice for decorating our walls up till now, but soon we may find beautiful mathematics nestled amongst the pop pinups and prints of favourite artworks. The "Maths goes Underground" posters are back by popular demand and are now available from the Mathematical Association.
The 12 posters were designed by the Isaac Newton Institute to be shown alongside the usual adverts seen on the London Tube - one poster for each month of Maths Year 2000. Each focused on an area of mathematics - including cryptography, fluid dynamics and probability - and featured a striking image, accompanied by a brief explanation of the underlying mathematics that could be understood in the short trip between Tube stations.
A major strength of the project was the intriguing glimpse each poster gave into current areas of mathematical research and important related applications. This fascinating mathematics shone out because of the beautiful and eye-catching designs of Andrew Burbanks, now a Scientific Programmer at the University of Bristol (you can read Extracting beauty from chaos, an article Andy wrote for a previous issue of Plus).
The posters were originally sent to every school in the UK, with additional posters making it to the Far East and the USA. One set was even seen decorating the school in the TV show Dawson's Creek! The demand for the posters continued until eventually the stocks at the Newton Institute ran out, and for some time there has been no place to get hold of them.
Now the Mathematical Association is producing and distributing these posters, which you can order by visiting their website. The Newton Institute has also produced a booklet version of the posters which is available to order online.
The Plus office is looking better already. Could your room or office wall do with a little mathematical beauty too?