Everyone using a computer today profits unwittingly from the historical mechanization of calculating which took place over many centuries. Some 500 years ago the art of reckoning was in the hands of a very few well-trained experts. Then, somewhat later, numerous great thinkers and mathematicians devoted their efforts to transforming calculating into a routine and error-free action. The more smoothly the mechanism of a calculating machine worked, the greater became the wish to make calculating faster, better and more comfortable. Faster machines also found more and more different uses, culminating in today’s computers which are used so widely that they dominate our daily life. The purpose, however, is still the same: whether mechanically, electrically or electronically, one “just” wants to calculate!
The Arithmeum presents the history of mechanical calculating machines, as well as the computing of today, in an aesthetically pleasing environment. Many demonstration models invite the visitor to discover the historical milestones of mechanical calculating, and at interactive multimedia stations the visitor can develop small microprocessors in a playful way. Early highlights in the development of computers are also exhibited.
An extensive collection of historical books on arithmetic and reckoning dating back to the beginnings of the art of printing supplements the exhibition of the Arithmeum. The exhibition includes works of geometric constructivist art, design objects and chairs, and regular concerts, the so-called concerti discreti, take place there. These different facets all help to make a visit to the Arithmeum a memorable experience.
In the Arithmeum science and art merge into a symbiosis resulting in their mutual enrichment.