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 movie mathematics an real mathematics? What are the misconceptions about the nature of mathematics and mathematicians which may be conveyed to the audience via movies? And so on.

Is there any website, article or book dealing with such issues about mathematics and movies?


  • 15
    $\begingroup$ Well, finding all homeomorphically irreducible trees of size $10$ certainly wouldn't take an MIT professor 2 years to do... $\endgroup$
    – jcg
    Jan 6 '14 at 18:40
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Julien refers to good will hunting. $\endgroup$
    – davidlowryduda
    Jan 6 '14 at 18:43
  • 33
    $\begingroup$ I remember a particularly painful line in "cube" where everybody is amazed that the autist prodigy can tell that 258 is not prime in 3 seconds.... $\endgroup$
    – Albert
    Jan 6 '14 at 18:43
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ @Behzad: Lets just say you have a lot of material to work with! See: math.harvard.edu/~knill/mathmovies and qedcat.com/moviemath $\endgroup$
    – Amzoti
    Jan 6 '14 at 18:44
  • 51
    $\begingroup$ @Glougloubarbaki. Yeah, that's really ridiculous: I can't imagine anyone needing more than 2 seconds to see that 258 is not prime, since it is divisible by 43. $\endgroup$ Jan 6 '14 at 20:58

I remember watching The fault in our stars which is a great movie, but the wrong math at a very emotional scene, ruined it for me. Shailene Woodley (who has cancer) says this to his boyfriend who also has cancer-

“I am not gonna talk about our love story because I can't. So, Instead I am gonna talk about maths. I am not a mathematician but I do know this. There are infinite numbers between $0$ and $1$. There's $.1$ and $.12$ and $.112$ and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between $0$ and $2$, or between $0$ and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I'm likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn't trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I'm grateful.”

A very good movie but , just saying, if you are not a mathematician, infinities are the first thing you should avoid.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Partially justified in that she never actually asked the "writer she used to like" for details, so there's no reason to expect her to know the details of what was meant. $\endgroup$ Aug 25 '15 at 14:58
  • $\begingroup$ I read the book in high school, and although I saw the bad math, I didn’t think it “ruined the scene” for me. The idea of infinity (or the very large) helps put things in life into perspective, and still makes for a very emotional scene, spoken by Shailene. $\endgroup$ Feb 18 '21 at 2:19

? Maybe this one : Kentucky Math with Pa and Ma Kettle! .
Or rather this one: Alternative Math | Short Film .


Tv Tropes has a page dedicated to bad math in media (not only movies).


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.