The Measurers: a Flemish Image of Mathematics in the Sixteenth Century opened on the 3rd of July (see Sphæra, Issue no. 1) and there were 3,900 visitors during August, despite the Museum being closed for a few days for essential electrical work.
The exhibition was sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers and the Fédération Internationale des Géomètres. This generous financial assistance allowed a full-colour poster and an illustrated catalogue to be printed; the latter may be ordered for £5.00 including postage. A large illuminated display board has also been placed above the Museum’s front entrance – it can be adapted to future exhibitions and is particularly striking when viewed from Broad Street in the evening.
An extensive electronic version of the exhibition forms part of the Museum’s Internet pages (see the article on the front cover). A particular feature of this virtual exhibition is the availability of very detailed versions of all of the illustrations provided in the catalogue, allowing a level of examination of all the objects in the exhibition beyond what is possible during an actual visit. The Museum is organizing a series of talks on topics associated with the exhibition, concentrated in the fifth week of Michaelmas term. On successive evenings (except Thursday when the regular History of Science and Technology Seminar is held) there will be talks in the Museum at 6 p.m., each to be completed within the hour. The Keeper will open the series on Monday with an informal talk in the gallery, while on Tuesday Professor Gerard Turner, of Imperial College, London, will deal with Louvain as a centre of instrument production in the sixteenth century. On Wednesday, Dr Ad Meskens from Mechelen, Belgium, will cover Antwerp, and on Friday Dr Allen Simpson of the National Museums of Scotland will talk more generally about standards and measures in Europe during the period in question.
The series of talks is an opportunity to think in a fairly focused way about the themes of the exhibition and, it is hoped, to build informed interest over the week. Survivors will be treated to some Belgian beer on Friday night. These occasions are announced as ‘talks’ rather than as ‘seminars’, and readers of Sphæra will be welcomed at as many as they can attend – and even if only for the beer on Friday.
The Measurers continues in the Museum until the 15th of December and thereafter on the Internet.