Question on bits and pieces of mathematics that show up in popular media (TV, movies, comics, etc.)

learn more… | top users | synonyms

10
votes
9answers
823 views

A Poster About Prime Numbers [on hold]

We're going to design a poster about prime numbers, which will appear in a mathematics magazine for middle school students. The poster should be both visually attractive and mathematically rich. Do ...
0
votes
2answers
180 views

Google Code Jam's Cookie Clicker Program…

Today, the Google Code Jam's cookie clicker problem was something like this. Problem In this problem, you start with 0 cookies. You gain cookies at a rate of 2 cookies per second, by ...
42
votes
6answers
13k views

Probability that random moves in the game 2048 will win

I have recently played the game 2048, created by Gabriele Cirulli, which is fun. I suggest trying if you have not. But my brother posed this question to me about the game: If he were to write a ...
2
votes
1answer
78 views

Math in TV: What episode of law & order is “the eigenvalue is off” from?

I'm trying to compile some clips of math in popular culture to save for various math talks I give. I know that in some episode of law and order, detective Max Greevey (he is only in season 1 I ...
0
votes
1answer
63 views

TV Shows for Popularization of Mathematics

There are many TV shows and programs which are dedicated to popularization and of physics, biology, etc. I'm looking for such media about mathematics. Thanks.
5
votes
2answers
143 views

Is this really a formula of number theory? (Number theory in “Beyond: two souls”)

While watching a video of someone playing the video game Beyond: two souls, I saw the next formula $$N_k=\frac{1}{k}\sum_{d|k}\mu(d)n^{k/d}\text{,}$$ which clearly is a reference to number theory ...
0
votes
2answers
190 views

A problem for math lovers to count the digits

Today a classmate of mine asked a question which is based on counting. Question. Find a positive integer which when multiplied up to $N$ times will give numbers having the same digits but differently ...
16
votes
1answer
467 views

“Bad” Mathematics in Movies

There's a website and a companion book to it about bad physics in movies, called "Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics". Similar issues may exist about mathematics: What are the differences between ...
13
votes
2answers
509 views

A problem V.I. Arnold solved as a primary school student

According to a 1995 interview that Vladimir I. Arnold gave to the Notices of the AMS, his primary school teacher I.V. Morozkin gave in 1949 (when Vladimir I. Arnold was 12 years old) to a Soviet ...
0
votes
0answers
21 views

Multimedia Material Accompanying a Printed Math Journal

I'm a member of editorial board of a middle school math journal. It's now became possible to accompany the printed journal with a CD. I want to know what can be done in this direction. My questions: ...
-2
votes
3answers
81 views

Why do folks get different answers for 48/2(9+3)?

I did 48/2(9+3) as I thought I had been taught and got the incorrect answer of 2. There's got to be a reason why so many are not only getting the wrong answer but consistently getting the same wrong ...
0
votes
1answer
46 views

Undergraduate level Math booklet

As non native speaker I have difficulty in reading English books, fortunately mathematical books usually have simple language comparing with Literature. Some examples are: 1- Mathematics very short ...
9
votes
1answer
3k views

What is the best strategy for Cookie-Clicker-esque games?

Today, I stumbled across the game Cookie Clicker, which I recommend you avoid until you have at least a few hours of time to waste. The basic idea behind the game is this: You have a large stash of ...
7
votes
3answers
341 views

Is there something to the “let $\varepsilon < 0$” joke that I'm missing?

Sorry if this is the wrong place to ask this, but I feel it's a question of vital importance to the future of math education. I hear this listed as a "math joke" all the time and I've never got it. ...
11
votes
3answers
255 views

New mathematical results in fiction work

On the surreal numbers page on Wikipedia it says: They were introduced in Donald Knuth's 1974 book Surreal Numbers: How Two Ex-Students Turned on to Pure Mathematics and Found Total Happiness. ...
5
votes
3answers
213 views

Statistics Workshop for High School Students

We are going to hold an introductory workshop about the statistics. The participants will be students who have just finished their 8th or 9th grade. The workshop consists of 10 two-hour sessions. The ...
41
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the solution to Nash's problem presented in “A Beautiful Mind”?

I was watching the said movie the other night, and I started thinking about the equation posed by Nash in the movie. More specifically, the one he said would take some students a lifetime to solve ...
13
votes
3answers
700 views

Explaining what real math is to a high school student

I think, after reading through some of the questions here and their answers, that there are many people here who share my opinion on high school mathematics that it's quite different from "real ...
6
votes
2answers
235 views

Fermat's Last Theorem's Proof

Where can I find a copy of the proof that proves Fermat's Last Theorem? Also, what different mathematical topics would I need to know to fully understand all of the syntax and reasoning in the proof? ...
3
votes
1answer
121 views

Monty Hall Application

Driver A comes to a 3 way path junction but is not sure which one to take. Just as he decides to take path 1, a cyclist came by and told driver A all he knows is that he is going on path 3 which would ...
14
votes
9answers
4k views

How Can One Prove $\cos(\pi/7) + \cos(3 \pi/7) + \cos(5 \pi/7) = 1/2$

Reference: http://xkcd.com/1047/ We tried various different trigonometric identities. Still no luck. Geometric interpretation would be also welcome. EDIT: Very good answers, I'm clearly impressed. ...
11
votes
2answers
915 views

Motivation for Tom Lehrer's song “Lobachevsky”?

I am trying to understand the motivation for the jingle about plagiarism written by Tom Lehrer. A YouTube version can be found here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IL4vWJbwmqM . Where does history ...
7
votes
0answers
604 views

The maths in “The Amazing Spider Man”

I just saw the trailer for the new Spider Man movie and couldn't help but notice the image after the guy says "How did you come up with this". So here is a transcript (the last part can't be seen): ...
23
votes
17answers
2k views

Mathematical toys?

Anybody know of "serious" mathematical ornaments or toys like the Gömböc, etc? Already have a rubix and abacus (that's more of a tool though).
28
votes
19answers
2k views

Mathematics understood through poems? [closed]

Along with Diophantus mathematics has been represented in form of poems often times. Bhaskara II composes in Lilavati: Whilst making love a necklace broke. A row of pearls mislaid. One sixth fell to ...
32
votes
8answers
3k views

The Monty Hall problem

I was watching the movie 21 yesterday, and in the first 15 minutes or so the main character is in a classroom, being asked a "trick" question (in the sense that the teacher believes that he'll get the ...
5
votes
2answers
462 views

What is the relationship between the Poisson Distribution and the Monte Carlo Fallacy?

Gravity's Rainbow has this long passage about the Poisson distribution. Since Pynchon's education included a serious dose of mathematics, and his novels include many references to mathematics, I ...
7
votes
1answer
366 views

What interview of G. H. Hardy by P. Erdős does Wikipedia refer to?

Quoting from the Wikipedia article on G. H. Hardy (emphasis mine): Starting in 1914, he was the mentor of the Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, a relationship that has become ...
6
votes
1answer
528 views

A divergent series from Futurama

I was watching Futurama and in a recent episode, the professor creates a duplication machine. The machine basically took something and then made 2 copies at 60% the size. Somehow Bender got caught ...
5
votes
5answers
424 views

Mathematician (non-logician) seeks reference for Gödel's incompleteness theorems

I would like to learn more about the proofs of Gödel's incompleteness theorems. I have read and am rereading Gödel's proof by Nagel, Newman, and Hofstadter. I like it very much, but I would like ...
8
votes
1answer
389 views

Numb3rs Challenge

I am by no means a mathmatician. I guess you could say that I am a mathematically inclined individual, but never made anything of it until I was in my 30's and became a software engineer. Although ...
33
votes
3answers
4k views

What is this mathematical equation from Fringe?

The following mathematical equation was shown during the television show Fringe which aired on Friday, April 22nd. Any idea what it is? (edit by J.M.: for reference, this was Sam Weiss scribbling ...
15
votes
2answers
530 views

Name of the math movie

Does anyone remember a movie about four mathematicians studying infinity, who ended up committing a suicide? It was aired online somewhere, and I can't find it (it's a documentary, if that helps).
7
votes
3answers
983 views

Do the equations used in Stargate make sense or are they gibberish?

Just wondering if equations used as props in SG1, atlantis and most recently Universe are just random and cool looking, or real/meaningful and cool looking. Most recent episode of Stargate Universe ...