The Department of Mathematics owns a remarkable collection of mathematical models, one of the most important of its kind in Italy. The models represent a variety of mathematical objects, in particular surfaces. Most are made of chalk, but some were constructed using other materials as well. Most date back to the last decades of the the XIX century and the first decades of the following one. At the time they had an important didactic and scientific function.
The collection is a part of the Museum System of the University of Pavia. It consists of over 160 pieces and includes, besides the models, some mathematical instruments – among which one of the few surviving examples of Pascal integraph – and the famous “Beltrami’s cap”, a paper model of a portion of the hyperbolic plane built by Eugenio Beltrami in 1868.
At present, the collection is not open to the public but can be visited by researchers on request.
A new internet site of the collection is under construction. In the meantime the old site (in Italian), designed back in 2001 by Valeria Olivati, is still functioning and illustrates most of the collection. A remarkable feature of this site was to include “virtual” versions of many models, which could be interactively manipulated on screen. This feature is currently disabled for security reasons.
Università degli Studi di Pavia -
Via Ferrata, 5 - 27100 Pavia
Tel +39.0382.985600 - Fax +39.0382.985602