Segments in this Video

Mathematics as a Profession (422:10)


Several renowned mathematicians talk about the nature of mathematics and what inspired them to choose mathematics as a profession.

Doing the Math (03:34)

For the mathematician, mathematics is an infinite process of discovery. Math possesses aesthetic and universal qualities of the world. Patterns of numbers become more complex in abstract math.

Are Mathematicians Quirky? (03:30)

Mathematicians see things in unique ways that others don't see. They are drawn to mathematics for the freedom it allows them to explore the world as they choose.

Shape (06:52)

Mathematicians ponder the wonder and significance of geometry and algebra in relation to Pythagoras' theorem, spheres, polyhedra and other shapes in order to understand dimension.

Working (04:18)

The qualities of a mathematician include the ability to begin anew and think intensely, and strive for answers. Problems are seen as a way of assessing where one is with the dilemma.

Number Theory (04:16)

Number theory is an old field. Defining spaces between prime numbers and the Riemann Theory are central to modern number theory.

Proof (03:38)

The "proof" is the acid test of mathematics. Finding the right proof is the essential truth of something. Proofs have become more strict, stylized, and rigorous.

Uncertainty (03:20)

Mathematics is also about uncertainty, or probability. Dice and the I-Ching can be used for probability problems. The more random the numbers, the more predictable they are.

The Real World (04:19)

Nice problems come out of the real world. To understand the physical world, math is needed to describe the quantitative phenomenon of one with the other.

Connections (03:42)

Mathematicians get excited about the inspiration and epiphany that comes from solving problems. When one least expects it, math becomes relevant in unique ways.

The Last Word (03:01)

Mathematics allows for exploration. It is the basis of understanding other disciplines such as computer science, physics, and biology. The universe runs on mathematical principles.

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The Math Life

DVD Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Why did a magician become a mathematician? How can a person see in four dimensions? What does a mathematical proof have in common with a Picasso portrait? This elegant program brings to life the human dimension of mathematics through lively interviews with Freeman Dyson, David Mumford, Ingrid Daubechies, Persi Diaconis, Michael Freedman, Fan Chung Graham, Kate Okikiolu, Jennifer Tour Chayes, Peter Sarnak, Steven Strogatz, and seven other mathematicians. These captivating luminaries vividly communicate the excitement and wonder that fuel their work as they explore the world through its patterns, shapes, motions, and probabilities. Computer animations and analogies drawn from the visual arts are incorporated, to maximize accessibility to the fascinating concepts discussed. A Wendy Conquest/Bob Drake/Dan Rockmore Production. (51 minutes)

Length: 52 minutes

Item#: BVL31019

ISBN: 978-0-7365-5979-9

Copyright date: ©2002

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

"Mathematicians, veteran and novice alike, will revel in the glow of this live-action passing parade of math luminaries extolling the virtues and joys of the queen of the sciences."—Library Journal

"Funded by the National Science Foundation, The Math Life is a well-composed production showing math is more than just numbers. Eye-catching computerized images and clear archival stills are superbly blended with interview clips."—School Library Journal

"Nicely illustrated with computer animation, fine art, graphics, and demonstrations, this National Science Foundation-funded production will hopefully pique the curiosity of students contemplating career paths."—Video Librarian

Highly recommended by Educational Media Reviews Online.

Recommended by Booklist.

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Only available in USA and Canada.