Mathematics in the Movies

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Photograph by David Young

At the wonderful National Cinema Museum, Turin – holiday time this week!

Thinking about Maths in the movies led me to this great collection of movie clips featuring Mathematics from Harvard University.

We must of course include Abbot & Costello showing that 7×13=28!

Mathbits.com includes a section on using movie clips in the mathematics classroom. The site suggests several possible movie clips to use and has accompanying worksheets. The Abbott & Costello clip mentioned above is included, the MathsBits worksheet is here.

Donald in MathMagic LandI loved Donald in Mathmagic Land as a child.

For a series of excellent articles see Plus Magazine’s Mathematics in Films.

For a very comprehensive database of mathematics mentioned anywhere is a movie try MMDB – The Mathematical Movie Database from Burkard Polster and Marty Ross.

From Numberphile, Math and Movies (Animation at Pixar) we learn how 3D aminated characters look so smooth.

More from Pixar, see Pixar: The math behind the movies, Tony DeRose on TEDEd; note that this link from TEDEd provides not just the movie but a complete lesson. (See also this article on Pixar’s research on The Verge.)

From SchoolTube, Math in the Movies

If all this inspires you to think about a job in digital animation – see Maths in motion on the excellent Maths Careers site.

I really like the song ‘Math is a wonderful thing’ from School of Rock.

Having got on to songs, here are a few favourites.

These have gone down well with students, particularly the Circle Song!

The Klein Four are a bit beyond school Mathematics, you may appreciate this if you are studying for a Mathematics degree!