- 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
THE STORY OF MATH
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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. Being able to represent numbers or quantities in physical space and move them around, slicing and dicing as needed is just a great visual tool for something that can seem so abstract to the uninitiated.
As touched on in the title, a big part of why these talks work, is the person speaking. I was unfamiliar with du Sautoy before this but I'm a fan now. I was actually a little amazed watching him step gingerly across a complex set of dye pits in India while explaining how people first developed ideas like negative numbers, changing zero from a placeholder to a number in its own right... and infinity itself. I would have fallen in just trying to recite the alphabet while attempting this. The host comes of as confident and authoritative while still being interesting to watch and engaging in tone and style. Being able to mentally multitask while expounding on the topics covered here is no small feat.
The other great thing about this set is that it's not just The Story Of Math. The set also contains a three part series on prime numbers which is a great bonus. If you think you aren't interested in them... once you finish watching the main set, you probably will be. They really are pretty cool.