Happy Birthday dear ix-quadrat!

Twenty years ago today, the ix-quadrat – the hands-on mathematics exhibition in Garching – opened its doors to the public. On that first day, roughly 1500 people visited the ix-quadrat.

It was the 23rd of November 2002 and Open Day on the whole Garching Research Campus. Accompanying the brand new mathematics exhibition  was a  fabulous performance from the geometry installation artist Casper Schwabe, a mathematical puzzle game and a variety of hands-on mathematical craft activities.

Since then around 250 groups visit the ix-quadrat  every year for a guided, explanatory tour. The visitors come from a wide variety of backgrounds – from pre-schoolers, to senior school classes and teacher groups, as well as guest scientists from around the world.  With around 50 exhibits, all of which are in some way thematically linked to one another, the exhibition offers the opportunity to truly “get to grips” with mathematical phenomena on a variety of levels and using most of one's senses.

20 years ix-Quadrat

During the course of the last 20 years, the ix-quadrat team has also organised a wide range of workshops and presented numerous larger activities at special events. Amongst the most memorable were

  • mathematical constructions, in which 1,400 bamboo poles were woven together to make large balls of 6 metres in diameter;
  • 4,000 metal coat hangers, connected to create a variety of polyhedral models;
  • a chain of 10,000 wooden medicinal tongue sticks, creating a stick-bomb stretching through the whole atrium of the math department until it „exploded“.

And what makes us particularly happy – some of our math students at the Technical University of Munich made their first realisation that mathematics can be fascinating whilst visitng the ix-quadrat with their school class.