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The Story of Math (2010)

 NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Format: Box set, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Athena
  • DVD Release Date: March 30, 2010
  • Run Time: 232 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00331RHEU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,263 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


  • The Music of the Primes, a 78-minute bonus documentary.
  • 20-page viewer’s guide includes highlights, questions to consider, avenues for further learning, a glossary, a profile of the Pythagorean religious movement, and an explanation of proofs.
  • Biographies of influential mathematicians, and more.
  • SDH subtitles

Editorial Reviews

How numbers explain our universe and reveal unseen worlds

Math made accessible, engaging, and relevant

Mathematics forms the foundation for nearly everything we do--from finance to physics, and architecture to astronomy. Math not only describes our world, but also reveals its beauty and mystery. Join Marcus du Sautoy and a host of distinguished experts as they crisscross the globe, bringing the colorful history of numbers to life.

Meet the men and women who conceived major mathematical breakthroughs and explored the farthest frontiers of abstract thought, often with tragic results. Learn how their discoveries still drive technology, science, and even philosophy. Using computerized visuals and healthy doses of humor, Du Sautoy makes the most complex concepts accessible and engaging. With contagious enthusiasm and boundless energy, he shows that math isn’t merely about making calculations, but also about finding patterns that expose the hidden relationships in our universe.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
65 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sumptuous and wonderful banquet July 21, 2010
I fell in love with this BBC series while studying for a series of math exams. Marcus Du Sautoy is the real deal -- an accomplished mathematician with a knack for storytelling. And the story of maths is indeed a good story! Du Sautoy presents the history of mathematics in a lively and accessibly way, focusing on historical characters and places as well as why a given discovery was or is important. I've watched some of the episodes more than once -- that's how engaging they are. He doesn't skip over the petty squabbles over credit or the cultural context, and that's a big part of what makes the series fun. Even the non-math people I've shared this series with have enjoyed it. Highly recommended for non-mathematical and mathematical audiences alike.
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56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Math DVD I've Ever Seen September 19, 2010
I know many of you will read the title of this review and think "well that really sounds hard to believe," or write off my enthusiasm as being a mere post-movie dazzlement effect. Really though, when you think about it, it isn't that hard to believe, is it? How many good Math documentaries are there?

Finding good science documentaries is pretty easy. They're on pretty much any cable channel (or PBS) that features these kinds of programs (NOVA, Scientific American, or other similar programs on channels like the Science Channel, the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, etc). But Math documentaries? Those are hard to come by.

This is part of why this documentary is such a gem. Most Math DVDs out there are, in contrast with programs like NOVA that make science interesting, just people explaining formulas in front of a markerboard for an hour. This is not to say there's anything wrong with that, but only to say that there aren't that many production-quality documentaries about Math out there with the goal of entertaining a mass audience while teaching them some interesting facts and priming their interest on the subject.

Since this DVD accomplishes all of that and then some, all with an interesting historical narrative in the background, I can wholeheartedly award it 5 stars. While it isn't hugely more interesting or well-done than a comparable science episode about physics or something on NOVA, it is nonetheless almost the best in its class (Math documentaries) because so few of these types of movies exist in the first place.

Being the first of its kind that I've come across be so successful in this way, I'm happy to give it 5 stars and a recommendation for those who are interested in learning more about Math (and being assisted by beautiful computer-generated imagery) to help accomplish it in an enjoyable and fascinating manner.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I like Marcus du Sautoy. He equals emcee squared. June 29, 2011
Verified Purchase
Thank you. I'll be here all week. Try the veal!

As for The Story Of Math(s), I have to say it really is an amazing educational tool, in that it makes the subject utterly fascinating. For a long time I thought I was a math hater, but it turns out I just didn't know math. I was thinking merely of quadratic equations and my Algebra II teacher in high school who, between friends, was a little bit tired of the job at the time. I can't blame her. We were a thankless bunch. If my Algebra II teacher had been Marcus du Sautoy I think I might be some kind of engineer or astronomer today.

So, I am far from a math aficionado. In fact my basic calculation methods are pretty pathetic. There are times that I will resort to finger counting just to be sure. Oh shut up. You check your front door five times when you know it's locked so tell it to Roger Bannister. My point is this... I was never lost or confused while watching this documentary. In fact I was consistently amazed, fascinated and enthralled. It helps to have some kind of interest in numbers. Mine stems from the Fibonacci numbers and the Golden Ratio, although I have a rudimentary understanding of both. Episode Two "The Genius Of The East" gave me a much more solid working knowledge of each. Basically, I am very intrigued by CONCEPTS of mathematics and this program was able to translate my concepts into factual representations from the real world, in order to help me wrap my unconditioned brain around the ideas. The use of live scenes as backgrounds for graphical overlays is simple in a way, but this simplicity allows the complex concepts (complex to ME, genius) to pop off the screen and be more readily digested.
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72 of 90 people found the following review helpful
No doubt the math masters of the world will award (Prime Number) 5 stars. The mathematics is there as well as very interesting fact and stories of where some of the great numbers thoughts generated from in history. The camera takes you on a Grande Tour of places of the world, beginning with Egypt and the pyramids, in explaining the Pythagorean theorem beginnings, Golden Ratio instances from ancient times, topology, axioms, postulates, and ...

Well, my own educational masters' degree failed to keep up with all of the terminology, and theory, causing me to award only 4 stars. It is my own mathematical ignorance that causes me to fully enjoy this educational DVD set, where others will, and have, called it dazzling. Even at moments when my depth of numbers faltered, bits of facts and stories of historical importance, surfaced to make it a learning experience. Excellent footage, and a well informed mathematical professor/host leads those most interested in math through it's roots as well as it's yet to be explored regions of thought, shape, relationships, time, and count.

Using computer images, today's math in visual form, the patterns and social relationships are investigated, questioned, and philosophized over. It's not for your average viewer, not exactly entertainment; it's a documentary engaging the mind toward the relevance of numbers.

Set includes "The Music of the Primes" (78 min documentary) in the bonus stuff. A completely different DVD with 3 Episodes:
1-- with a 2000-yr tradition
2-- of the 20th century attempts
3-- tech advancements
all leaving the Riemann's hypothesis unproven.

Bonus also includes SDH SUBTITLES, Viewer's guide with episode highlights, questions, and math bibliography and glossary.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Prompt
Very prompt! Got it just before I needed it. I teach Humanities and it holds their attention while they learn!
Published 1 month ago by Elaine Childers
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!
Marcus DuSautoy is a great communicator along the lines of Carl Sagan, Michio Kaku, Stephen Hawking, and the other greats in scientific communication. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sean South
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful for sharing!
This video is fantastic for giving context to all the math skills and larger concepts you learned or teach. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Doc2Be
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and informative
There is a lot of information in these DVDs, covering a huge time scale (in human terms). I always appreciate learning new things.
Published 2 months ago by Stephen Beare
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good
I found the series easy to follow but found it more effective if I watched it two or three times.
Published 2 months ago by Carol
1.0 out of 5 stars Inaccurate
This set of videos makes some assumptions that are not accurate. If you're wanting to fill your head with mysticism this might be a great set of videos for you. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Byron Goodman
2.0 out of 5 stars painful to watch
As a high school math teacher I'm always looking for entertaining and informative videos. As other reviewers have pointed out, there aren't many, so I was pretty happy to see all... Read more
Published 9 months ago by A. Jacoby
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind Opening
Intellectually provocative, a virtual bear trap to attention, this intriguing documentary opened my mind So Much it almost fell out of my head.
Published 12 months ago by Matterusman
5.0 out of 5 stars Got it for the classroom
This one is for the top of the class. It has good information, but will overwhelm some students. It is challenging. It presents serious content.
Published 14 months ago by Tim
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting film
My middle school students enjoyed this film very much and I would recommend it to other teachers especially high school.
Published 15 months ago by Cindy Proske
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