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The Story of 1


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Product Details

  • Actors: Terry Jones, Marcus du Sautoy, Leo Jampinjinpa Wayne, Ahmed Boulane, Fred Challa
  • Directors: Nick Murphy
  • Producers: Fred Challa, Nick Murphy, Adam Kemp, Jasper James, Tamara Bodenham
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: May 21, 2006
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EOTENQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,528 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Story of 1" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Terry Jones embarks on a humor filled journey to discover the amazing tale that lies behind the simplest number we have. Using computer graphics, 1 is brought to life for the program, in all his various guises. 1's story reveals how the most celebrated civilizations in history were achieved, where our modern numbers came from and how the invention of zero changed the world forever and saved us from having to use Roman numerals today.

Customer Reviews

Very well filmed.
KTS
If you like Brittish humor and have any interest in history in math, you will love this video.
K. Schuette
It will be great as a different sort of review of the history that we have studied thus far.
DWD's Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

107 of 110 people found the following review helpful By DWD's Reviews VINE VOICE on April 14, 2006
Format: DVD
I watched this when it premiered on my local PBS affiliate and I thought it was a lot of fun and full of loads and loads of interesting history.

As a world history teacher, I am always on the lookout for something that can tell our story with a twist. This one does it quite nicely.

The documentary tells the story of man's use of one (and other numbers, but the focus always returns to the number 1) throughout time with a humorous twist. It explores early uses of math, why mankind had to develop math, why the Roman Numerals were inferior to our current system and continues on to the modern use of binary numbers.

As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted it for my history class. It will be great as a different sort of review of the history that we have studied thus far.

I give this one a grade of 'A'.
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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Beverly E. Van Citters on October 30, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I saw this program on a PBS station and loved it! As a college professor teaching in a basic skills 'Learning Community' of Math and Reading, I found this DVD gave students a framework to understand and see the progression of the very concepts they were using in basic math classes. Much class discussion ensued because of the humor and the presentation provided. I agree with another reviewer. This program is effective for students from grades 6 up to and including college. What a fun way to learn! I purchased my own DVD but also ordered a copy for our college library.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By J. Hamilton on April 28, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I watched this when it was shown on PBS one night. It is a fantastic blend of humor and math history. Being a math teacher I immediately found myself figuring out how to work this movie into my lesson plans. Any one that has an appreciation for math and history will love this film.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Vincent D. Pisano on January 24, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The Story of 1 is a terrific hybrid of history and mathematical concepts. While both my wife and I are educators, my field is history and hers is math, and we both feel that this entertaining documentary would work exceptionally for middle-school students right on through college age, and in both of our respective disciplines.

Terry Jones, enjoyable as always, traces the number one through its pre-historic beginnings to its current applications in computer binary code and reveals how numbers and concepts transformed civilizations in the time between. Matters presented include the progress of one with other numbers and how civilizations were allowed to grow as a result; the inefficiency of Roman numerals over Arabic (Indian!) numerals and the latter's capitalist conquest; and finally with Leibniz's assertion that only one and zero are necessary for any mathematical problem. Also, most interestingly, he shows the Australian aboriginal culture whose native counting system never moved beyond the number one. He does this, of course, in his usual humorous way with the assistance of modern experts and actors in period clothing. He also travels to many of the sites to show first-hand the evidence for that which he is explaining.

Mr. Jones, like me, is clearly not an expert in mathematical concepts - he is more comfortable with the historical details - but the viewer learns alongside him in clearly illustrated sequences where imaginative animations have been added for good measure. Likewise, it offers an historical appreciation and understanding for those who are more numerically minded - like my wife - for the mathematical systems we often take for granted.

It is highly informative and short enough to be easily utilized in the classroom setting.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Gradient Vector Field on June 18, 2008
Format: DVD
This was a really fun documentary to watch, regardless of how elementary it was overall. However, the documentary is only about an hour long so you can't really recount the history of civilization (which goes with math) in that short period of time. This documentary does give the viewer a clearly defined impression that the number one is far more complex in history than most people might have thought. Granted there are assuredly more numbers than just one, the friends 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 do make a cameo appearance every now and again, but as the DVD points out... they're all made up of units of one when broken down! That is until the rise of zero comes into play.

Math and history are probably two of my most favored subjects and I've been getting into documentaries as of late, so to combine the two in one setting was a great find! All this and to top it off with having it narrated by Terry Jones from Monty Python fame. With that kind of a narrator I was expecting a fair degree of silliness throughout the documentary. Granted it's not nearly as off the wall as we get in Monty Python skits (unfortunately there are no silly walks), but it did have its humorous moments. I suppose the concept derived from the fact that most people find math boring or cumbersome so they wanted to lighten the mood. Most of this silliness is generated via computer graphics with representations of numbers getting into mischief and so forth. Terry Jones certainly has his witty quips thrown in to make it entertaining as well. I must reference what he said the Egyptians liked to do for those who have seen this already.

This documentary goes over how essential mathematics was for building civilization even in ancient times dating back to Sumer.
Read more ›
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