Monday, November 28, 2011

Wednesday Website:
Harvard's Mathematics in Movies

Math is cool. The real life situations that can be explored, described and understood with mathematical concepts are amazing to me. One of my cousins did a dissertation on fractals, an old boyfriend did his on representation theory. I have another cousin who's a global expert on algorithms, music and artificial intelligence. He designs and teaches computerized instruments that can hear music and jam along with a band, kind of like a robot that can play improv jazz (or bluegrass). I mean, how cool is that?

Nobody should hate math, even if the details of how to do it are hard or confusing (as for me), or you don't especially like to do it. You can appreciate math, whether or not it's a favorite subject.

Happily for all of us, the Department of Mathematics at Harvard created Mathematics in Movies, a webpage with a large collection of movie clips with some sort of math content. Of course there are scenes from math-themed movies like Stand and Deliver (gigolo algebra! who knew), but Kumar's "root 3" poem from the stoner slapstick Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanomo Bay is awesomely effective in getting the girl (watch it here).

And remember, mathematical thinking doesn't have to include numbers. Check out Pinocchio's math logic in definitely not rejecting the possibility that he doesn't not have any idea where Shrek might be!

Intrigued? Check out some of the many "teach yourself" style math books we have in the Library.

1 comment:

Natalie Bernstein said...

What a thoughtful, well-written piece, and a perfect video. Bravo!