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London's Science Museum receives £5m for maths gallery

image copyrightScience Museum
image captionA British experimental aircraft from 1929 will be suspended from the ceiling of the gallery

The Science Museum in London is to design a mathematics gallery after receiving a gift of £5m, the museum's largest ever individual donation.

Zaha Hadid, the architect behind the Aquatic Centre for the London Olympics, will design the new feature.

The permanent gallery will explore mathematicians' tools and ideas from the 17th Century to the present day.

The gallery, which will open in 2016, will be named after David and Claudia Harding, who provided the donation.

Museum director Ian Blatchford described the gift as "game-changing".

image copyrightScience Museum
image captionThe gallery will be named after David and Claudia Harding who provided the donation

Mr Blatchford said: "We are determined to match their enormous generosity with the ambition we show in harnessing our world-class collections to tell the stories of how mathematicians have helped to shape the world."

The David and Claudia Harding Foundation have donated nearly £40m to scientific, academic and humanitarian causes, including to help research into the physics of sustainability at The Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge.

Mr Harding founded the Winton Capital Group in 1997 with the aim of building up an investment management company using scientific methods. In 2001 it was reported he was one of Britain's highest earners.

The centrepiece of the new mathematics gallery at the museum in South Kensington will be the Handley Page aircraft, a British experimental plane from 1929, which will be suspended from the ceiling.

The aircraft was created as part of a competition to design an aircraft that could take off and land slowly and steeply without stalling.

The mathematics gallery is part of the Science Museum's masterplan, which will transform about a third of the museum over the next five years.

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