Friday, December 6, 2013

Pythagorize the Flatiron

Flatiron Building
Yesterday December  5, 2013  National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) presented a math event that lighted up one of the city's oldest landmarks: the Flatiron Building.   MoMath  created a stunning illuminated demonstration of the Pythagorean Theorem. 

The Flatiron Building is located at 175 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan  and is considered to be a groundbreaking skyscraper.  It was built in 1902 and at this time it was   one of the tallest buildings in the city. The name "Flatiron" derives from its resemblance to a cast-iron clothes iron.  


 A Pythagorean triple consists of three positive integers a, b, and c, such that a2 + b2 = c2. The most well-known example is   3, 4, 5.  A right triangle whose sides form a Pythagorean triple is called a Pythagorean triangle. The other ( not so famous) set is 13,12,5.  


The National Museum of Mathematics - MoMath, the only one Math museum in US, is located in Manhattan at 11 East 26th Street, several blocks from Flatiron building. Museum opened a year ago in December 2012. Its' founder is Glen Witney, a former math professor and an analyst  at “Renaissance Technologies “-Long Island hedge fund. 

Glen Whitney
He quit his job  in late 2008 and devoted all time to the museum. The museum   has raised $22 million, including $2 million from Google and a lot from individual donors.  Mr. Whitney said: “There are all sorts of myths about mathematics out there:  math is hard, math is boring, math is for boys, math doesn't matter in real life. All these are cultural myths that we want to blow apart.”
Flatiron Floor Scheme
 Yesterday, on 5/12/13 more than 500 people gathered with glow sticks to "pythagorize" the Flatiron building. 

"It takes 75 glow sticks on the buildoiing short side, 180 for the 5th Avenue side, and 195 for the Broadway side, and if you divide those numbers by 15, you get 5, 12, and 13,” Glen Whitney,  executive director of MoMath, said. ”The next time these particular three numbers will be part of a date is 2105, 92 years from now. And the next date that has numbers that form a Pythagorean triple is Aug. 17, 2015 — 8, 15, and 17 also satisfy the theorem.


 MoMath is one year on 15 of December  and “Pythagorize the Flatiron,” is the first in a series of MoMath   events.