Oxford University's new £70m Mathematical Institute building will not only bring all of the university's mathematicians together into one dedicated facility but will offer a new space for public lectures, conferences, and community groups.
The Andrew Wiles Building, which officially opens today (3 October), is named after one of Oxford's most celebrated mathematicians, Professor Sir Andrew Wiles – who famously proved Fermat's Last Theorem and who returned to Oxford University in 2011. The opening will be attended by guests including Sir Andrew Wiles, the University's Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Hamilton, and David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science.
The building's design, by Rafael Viñoly Architects, aims to be architecturally sympathetic to the Oxford skyline whilst providing the space to unite all of the university's mathematicians who had previously been based at three separate locations. The building has workspace for more than 500 mathematical researchers and support staff and will be a centre for the academic life of approximately 900 undergraduates. It also features six new lecture theatres that will benefit the entire university.
Alongside space for university activities the building's modern facilities are also available for local community meetings and events.
Professor Sam Howison, Chairman of Mathematics, said: 'The space has already been used by a diverse range of groups including Oxfordshire Fire Brigade and Thames Valley Police. Indeed the building has attracted interest from beyond the city as people become aware that Oxford now has another top-class venue to add to its many attractions.'
From the paving featuring patterns dreamt up by Oxford mathematician Sir Roger Penrose, to the crystal-like canopies and windows, the building's design demonstrates how mathematical ideas are part of people’s everyday lives.
Professor Andrew Hamilton, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, said: 'The opening of the Andrew Wiles Building opens up a new chapter in the history of mathematics at Oxford. Modern mathematics embraces all of the sciences and beyond and this building will enhance collaboration between those working in different disciplines as well as providing a new space for university and community conferences and events.'
David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, said: 'The opening of this fantastic building is great news for Oxford's staff and students, who will soon be learning together in a stunning new space.
'Maths plays a vital role in our education system, our economy and our society. Our top mathematicians help unlock the mysteries of science, and enable us to stay ahead in the global race.'
A large proportion of the funding for the building came via Oxford Thinking, the Campaign for the University of Oxford.