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Garching bei München, Germany

Parabolic Slides

Four-story slides send people whizzing through the math department at this Munich university. 

These two four-story slides send students zipping through a university building, proving math truly can be a fun subject.

Stretching from the fourth floor all the way to the bottom, the two slides take the shape of a giant parabola. Though parabolas are perhaps best known as the graph of the quadratic function y = x2 this particular curve serves a much different purpose.

The slides actually fulfill a legal requirement. German law requires each university department to use some of its budget toward art. The math department at the Technical University of Munich, staying true to its subject, opted for an artistic installation that would prove math really isn’t a dull topic.

The slides are accessible to anyone, not just those who study within the department. If you’re walking in the building’s atrium, don’t be surprised to see students come shooting out the end. It may not be the most practical way to get to class, but it is without a doubt more entertaining than taking the stairs.

Know Before You Go

While Garching is a bit outside of the city (Garching Forschungszentrum on the U6), highlights near the university include several beer gardens, the inexpensive university cafeteria (or Mensa) and bar, and a good Indian restaurant.