The portrayal of mathematicians in film and popular culture
Thursday, 4 May, 2023 - 17:00
A recurring joke in the community is that the only widely acceptable definition of maths is "collection of activities performed by mathematicians". It is therefore hardly a surprise that the figure of 'the mathematician' and their mysterious musings is recurrent in media, particularly in film. The widely accepted opaqueness of mathematical activity provides a useful character trope: 'the mathematician' is fully commited to an endeavour entirely irrelevant to the screenwriter and viewer. This scenaristic device is sometimes referred to as 'MacGuffin'. We will go through a few examples, and it will be a chance to share our thoughts on how these portrayals compare to reality.
This will not be a 'talk' but rather an informal discussion, structured around a short reading from a novel, and a few movie clips.
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