One of the movies that didn’t make it into Math Goes to the Movies, appearing just too late, is the 2011 Korean drama, Unbowed. The movie is a legal drama about a mathematics professor and contains almost no mathematics. But mathematics underlies the story, which begins with the professor finding an error in his university’s entrance exam, and with his mathematics department’s reaction: Continue reading “Unbowed”

Math Goes to the Movies

I started writing a post, but the introduction grew to the point of crowding out the actual post. So, here’s the “introduction” as a separate post, and the next post will be the post post.

About fifteen years ago, Burkard came up with a “great idea”: he and I should write a book about mathematics in the movies. I agreed immediately with Burkard’s “great idea” and we began hunting and collecting and organising, and then writing about movies with maths. This included movies such as A Beautiful Mind and Stand and Deliver, with a mathematician or mathematics teacher at the heart of the story, as well as movies that, for whatever particular reason, just happen to have some notable mathematical scene.

Continue reading “Math Goes to the Movies”

Do You Gotta Get a Gimmick?

It is possible that the lessons to be had from burlesque for the teaching of mathematics have not been so fully appreciated. To help rectify this, here is a number from the musical Gypsy.

And the question: when teaching mathematics, do you gotta get a gimmick? Do gimmicks help? Or, do they simply give the illusion of helping?

I’m honestly not sure. I’m not even sure if my own teaching is gimmicky (although at times it has been described as burlesque).

Marty’s Don’s Party Party

Don’s Party is a great Australian movie. It is set entirely on the night of the 1969 Federal election, when Gough Whitlam was destined to lead Labor to victory for the first time in twenty years. David Denby wrote,

Don’s Party is derivative of Pinter, Fellini, Antonioni, Albee, and about a dozen others, and it’s a dispiriting, ugly experience, cliche’d rather than illuminating, smarmy rather than funny.

As we said, a great movie. Continue reading “Marty’s Don’s Party Party”