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“Giant Egg”


In 1960, IBM awarded the Eames Office a commission to curate and design an exhibition for the California Museum of Science and Industry in Los Angeles. This exhibition, Mathematica: A World of Numbers … and Beyond, ultimately proved so popular that the Eames Office further developed two more iterations of the exhibition, and included it at the IBM pavilion for the 1964 World’s Fair. When Charles first visited the museum, he took note of the most popular exhibit, a giant egg where visitors could see 150 baby chicks hatch from eggs per day. Upon returning to the Eames Office he advised the staff that their mandate was to make mathematics more fun and interesting than chickens hatching! With Mathematica, the designers’ effort to animate mathematics included moving and interactive devices such as a “train” that ran endlessly on a Möbius curve suspended from the ceiling, a probability machine modeled on the dynamics of pinball, and balls descending into a vortex to illustrate celestial mechanics. Given that three iterations of the exhibit are still on display after 60 years, Ray and Charles likely exceeded their hopes for an exhibition that would “let the fun of mathematics out of the bag.”

  • Medium:Printed paper
  • Dimensions:3 1/2 x 5 1/2 in. (8.9 x 14 cm)
  • Item:A.2022.I.009