hidden europe 17

Double enigma

by Nicky Gardner


Who cracked the code? We look at two street sculptures, one in England and the other in Poland that tell a tale of mathematical ingenuity.

Do you remember that piece on the Polish city of Bydgoszcz that featured in the last issue of hidden europe? The town on the Brda river was full of surprises. One which we neglected to mention in that last essay was a statue on the city's Gdansk boulevard. Heading north past the cafés, flower shops and furniture retailers, a cast bronze of an unassuming man sits on a stone plinth at the side of the road. Bespectacled, academic, attentive, legs crossed and holding a white rose. He looks with a quiet intensity at his notebook - a mathematician perhaps, puzzled by a particularly knotty formula. Beside him, on the granite slab on which he sits, is a chunky electronic device, not quite a typewriter but somehow similar. It is an engaging sight, to be sure, but all something of an enigma!

A thousand miles away to the west in England, Manchester's Sackville Park district is a curious sort of area. Packed with students during the week, but often deserted at weekends. Just the occasional pedestrian taking a short cut through the maze of university buildings on the way to the canal and Manchester's gay village.

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