Oughtred's Circles of Proportion 2.0: A Proof of Concept for Hands-on Science Engagement

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Renato BispoSamuel GessnerJoana Blanc

Abstract: This paper presents the development of a functional model of the logarithmic slide rule designed by the mathematician William Oughtred in the 17th century, known as Oughtred’s Circles of Proportion, to be used in educational contexts related to the history of science and the teaching of mathematics. The project consisted in interpreting the original instrument to develop a rigorous three-dimensional model of the slide rule, including its logarithmic scales and friction-tight joint, as well as adapting this artifact for 3D printing to the production of manipulable interactive objects at reduced costs. The paper presents the successive stages of development and collaboration, from the definition of goals and the target audience to the design of functional parts, the iterative testing in different educational contexts from schools to science events and plans to a revised version. The project exemplifies a promising way to engage with material heritage of science. The project constitutes a proof of concept for a generalized approach for the development of inclusive objects in science exhibitions, as a strategy to allow an easier and deeper understanding of the underlying scientific concepts and bringing the public closer to science.

Keywords: Inclusive design, science heritage, museums, scientific exhibitions, mathematical instruments, 3d printing.

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1001407

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