Fermat Science

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Main entrance of the Maison de Fermat

Fermat Science, also known as La Maison de Fermat, is an association and math museum located in the actual house where the 17th century French mathematician Pierre de Fermat was born, in the village of Beaumont de Lomagne (near Toulouse, France). The association organizes exhibitions, games, workshops and animations about History, Mathematics, Sciences and Pierre de Fermat´s work .

The association reaches about 4,000 students and 7,000 visitors per year (2017). It employs 5 mediators staff plus 2 administrative staff and the association members and directive board.

Space

The exhibition space is one room with a thematic exhibition (which changes every year), plus a workshop space for guided activities. The 2016 exhibition was devoted to Alan Turing and Secret Codes. The 2017 exhibition is devoted to Geometry.

Exhibition room displaying the Secret Codes exhibition

File:Experimath2017.jpg Schools visits are arranged every day. General public have free access to the exhibition room upon request on the tourist office (in the same building) during opening time. Panels with quizs and riddles are scattered around the Maison the Fermat and also around the village conforming a "treasure quest" that can be followed by pupils or visitors.

Activities

The main activity of the association are the school visits, which usually spend a whole day in the village. The typical day program consist on:

  • One or more thematic workshops, booked by the teachers in advance. These activities are guided and supervised by Fermat-Science mediators ([1]).
  • Visit to the exhibition room.
  • "Theorem hunt" (Chasse au théorème) around the city, supervised by the school teachers. The "hunt" consist on locating 15 spots on the building and on the village with panels explaining a mathematical aspect of that spot, and asking a question. Once all the questions are solved, one obtains a key code that allows to open a treasure chest with gifts for the pupils.
A panel of the "Theorem hunt"

Besides the school visits coming to La Maison de Fermat, the association also visits schools in the region bringing animations, and materials. Three sets of games and activities ("Exposition", "Malle" et "Mallette" pédagogiques) are available to rent for a fee.

Once a year the Fête des Maths (Maths fair) is organized, scheduled for the last day of the nation-wide events of the Fête de la Science (Science fair) week. For this maths fair, special workshops, conferences, and activities are organized for the whole day. Each March, another event is organized : Woman In Science : new workshops, conferences, and activities.

History

The association Fermat-Lomagne was created in 1996, celebrating the proof by Andrew Wiles of Fermat's last theorem. Wiles himself visited Beaumont de Lomagne in 1995, shortly after the publication of his proof. In 2011 Fermat-Lomagne turned into Fermat-Science and started a regular task of math popularization, with the creation of the permanent and itinerant exhibitions. The number of visitors and staff has been steadily growing since then.

In 2020, a new math space is expected. La Maison de Fermat 2020 will be a house of mathematics and digital.

Exhibits