Teen finds math error: Teen Finds Error Museum Of Science

Published: July 9, 2015

Teen finds math error: Teen Finds Error Museum Of Science, The Boston Museum of Science got a tremendous shock on Tuesday when a 15-year old high school student pointed out an error in one of its exhibits, which has been on display for 34 years. Joseph Rosenfeld was touring the museum with his family when he spotted the blunder in the “Mathematica: A World of Numbers… and Beyond.” The exhibit concerns the Golden Ratio, a formula expressed in a special number that is approximately equal to 1.618, the Examiner reported. The ratio is present in nature. For example, it occurs in the arrangement of parts of plants, animals, spiral galaxies and DNA molecules, among others.

Rosenfeld told his family that an addition sign was the correct entry in three places in the formula, where it contained an erroneous substraction sign. The teenager’s aunt notified museum authorities who promptly investigated the discrepancy. They made the necessary adjustments after confirming the alleged error. Rosenfeld appeared amazed by the whole incident. “It was cool. At first, I wasn’t sure, I thought maybe I had it wrong,” he told UPI. He has left a comment at the museum’s front desk about his observation but it was only after his aunt’s call that the error was confirmed. He received a letter from the museum authorities affirming the development and it also included an invitation to view other exhibits in the hope that he will catch other mistakes, according to CBS Boston.

According to museum officials, the changes were difficult to undertake because of its potential impact to the age-old exhibit. Alana Parkes, the museum’s exhibit content developer, explained that “partly because they are so famous, an unusual thing about Mathematica is that the whole exhibition is considered an artifact,” in an interview with CBS Boston. It turned out that the decisions about the exhibition, including changes to be made, require both Curatorial and Content Development permission.

The Mathematic exhibit was created by Charles and Ray Eames during the 1960s. It became a permanent feature in the museum when it arrived in 1981.


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