Sylvester’s surfaces

 

‘Most old-established mathematics departments around the world have somewhere, gathering dust in a corner cabinet, a collection of plaster models of surfaces. In the 1880’s these were a must-have item for geometrically minded mathematicians and James Joseph Sylvester, the Savilian Professor of Geometry in Oxford, accordingly acquired a set from Germany. They were not cheap, and in October 1886 Sylvester had to cancel a series of lectures because a cash-strapped university hadn’t agreed his equipment grant. ‘

 

Nigel Hitchen current Savilian Professor of Geometry, Oxford Mathematical Newsletter 2004

sylvester 1 geo solids feb15 (2)

 

For more detailed information on the models, see www.maths.ox.ac.uk/about-us/history/models-geometric-surfaces