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

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

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Description
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 final model of the series, is in the shape of two rectangles intersecting at a right angle, with a handle extending from one point of intersection. It is designed to illustrate one of the surfaces proposed by the German mathematician Heinrich Scherk (1798-1885) in a paper of 1835.
This example was exhibited at the Columbian Expositoin, a world's fair held in Chicago in 1893.
References:
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.
Scherk, H.F., “Bemerkungen über die kleinste Fläche innerhalb gegebener Grenzen,” Journal fuer die reine und angewandte Mathematik, 13, 1835, pp. 185-208. This article is mentioned in the Brill catalog.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
Geometric Model
geometric model
date made
1892
maker
L. Brill
place made
Germany: Hesse, Darmstadt
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 14 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm; 5 1/2 in x 3 15/16 in x 3 15/16 in
ID Number
1985.0112.116
catalog number
1985.0112.116
accession number
1985.0112
Credit Line
Gift of Wesleyan University
subject
Mathematics
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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