Mel Gibson teaching Euclidean geometry, Meg Ryan and Tim Robbins acting out Zeno's paradox, Michael Jackson proving in three different ways that 7 x 13 = 28. These are just a few of the intriguing mathematical snippets that occur in hundreds of movies. Burkard Polster and Marty Ross pored through the cinematic calculus to create this thorough and entertaining survey of the quirky, fun, and beautiful mathematics to be found on the big screen. "Math Goes to the Movies" is based on the authors' own collection of more than 700 mathematical movies and their many years using movie clips to inject moments of fun into their courses. With more than 200 illustrations, many of them screenshots from the movies themselves, this book provides an inviting way to explore math, featuring such movies as: "Good Will Hunting"; "A Beautiful Mind"; "Stand and Deliver"; "Pi"; "Die Hard"; "The Mirror Has Two Faces". The authors use these iconic movies to introduce and explain important and famous mathematical ideas: higher dimensions, the golden ratio, infinity, and much more.
Not all math in movies makes sense, however, and Polster and Ross talk about Hollywood's most absurd blunders and outrageous mathematical scenes. Interviews with mathematical consultants to movies round out this engaging journey into the realm of cinematic mathematics. This fascinating behind-the-scenes look at movie math shows how fun and illuminating equations can be.
Burkard Polster is an associate professor of mathematics at Monash University and author of A Geometrical Picture Book and The Mathematics of Juggling. Marty Ross, together with Polster, writes Maths Masters, a weekly column published in Australia's Age newspaper, featuring fascinating and playful discussions of a wide range of mathematical topics.
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