Geometric Model, L. Brill No. 148. Ser. 10 No. 1c, Minimal Surface


Students at the technical high school in Munich, working under the direction of Alexander Brill, developed a series of wire models of minimal surfaces that was first published by Ludwig Brill in 1885. A minimal surface is the surface of smallest area of all the surfaces bounded by a closed curve in space. Its mean curvature is zero. Minimal surfaces are often represented by soap films, as was the intention with this model. This, the third model in the series, is in the shape of a regular octahedron with a handle rising from one vertex.

This example was exhibited at the Columbian Exposition, a world’s fair held in Chicago in 1893.


L. Brill, Catalog mathematischer Modelle. . ., Darmstadt: L. Brill,1892, p. 21, 85.

G. Fischer, Mathematical Models: Commentary, Braunschweig / Wiesbaden: Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, 1986, pp. 41-43.

H.A. Schwarz, Bestimmung einer speciellen Minimalfläche, Berlin: F. Dümmler's Verlags-Buchhandlung, 1871. This source is mentioned in Brill’s catalog.

Date Made: 1892

Maker: L. Brill

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: Germany: Hesse, Darmstadt

Subject: Mathematics


See more items in: Medicine and Science: Mathematics, Science & Mathematics


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Wesleyan University

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1985.0112.108Catalog Number: 1985.0112.108Accession Number: 1985.0112

Object Name: Geometric Modelgeometric model

Physical Description: metal (overall material)Measurements: overall: 10 cm x 20 cm x 10 cm; 3 15/16 in x 7 7/8 in x 3 15/16 in


Record Id: nmah_693984

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