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Sculpture project

Henk Ovink (3)

'De brachistochroon' by Henk Ovink

in front of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences

Ovink’s design was inspired by the work of the 17th-century mathematician Johann Bernoulli. Between 1695 and 1705, Bernoulli carried out his work at the university of Groningen . In 1696 he posed the mathematical challenge known as ‘the brachistochrone problem’, i.e. to find the curve of fastest descent between two points. The solution to this problem enabled important advances to be made in the science of mathematics.  

The Bernoulli sculpture consists of two cycloid curves and a circle. The circle determines the shape of the cycloid on which the solution to the brachistochrone problem is based. The image is approximately 14 x 12 x 7.5 metres and is made of galvanized IPE profiles. The artwork is located near the Faculty of Science and Engineering at the Zernike Complex, in the north of the city of Groningen.

Henk Ovink was a student of mathematics at the university during the mid-1980s. He then transferred to the Minerva Academy in Groningen and the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. His work is based on mathematical relationships, formulas and quantities, and the logic of numbers. It reflects abstraction in science and the search for knowledge. Ovink’s work is not necessarily experimental, but its forms, dimensions and materials are part of the search for knowledge. In contrast to smaller works, whose structure is less visible – or even invisible – the structure of the larger works carries the design.

'De brachistochroon' by Henk Ovink
'De brachistochroon' by Henk Ovink
Last modified:01 February 2017 11.20 a.m.