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Jeff Clark's Math in the Movies

This movie clip from Castaway, starring Tom Hanks, has Tom in a cave with Wilson the volleyball. Tom as been stranded on a deserted island for sometime. The clip shows Tom calculating the search area and comes to the conclusion that he may never be found. The mathematics shown is centered around pi, d=rt and area of a circle. Can you tell if Tom Hanks did his calculations correctly?

Mathematical concept: pi and D=RT

Teacher and student module (definition, accuracy of the math, examples, history of pi, extra problems)

This movie clip from The Wizard of OZ has the Wizard giving what the Scarecrow wanted, Brains. But as you listen, the Wizard says "everything" has a brain. What the scarecrow didn't have was a diploma. Well, this certainly did not make a difference as you will hear the Scarecrow rattle off what appears to sound like the Pythagorean Formula, but is ridiculous garbage.

Mathematical concept: Pythagorean Formula

Teacher and student module (definition, history, accuracy of the math, example, extra problems)

In this movie clip we find Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro talking on the street. Bradley has this drug in him that allows his senses to be heightened to the place where he can tell Robert De Niro that a van is going a certain speed, texting and doesn't have enough room to stop, therefore hitting the taxi.

Mathematical concept: D=RT.

Teacher and student module (description of the movie clip, confirmation of the accuracy of the clip, additional examples)

In this movie clip we find Jamie Foxx, Jessica Beil and Josh Lucas, who are pilots, discussing the problem with having a 4th "wingman". Jamie Foxx says 4 is NOT a prime number where 3 is a prime number. He goes on and gives examples of "3", like Three's Company, Three Stooges, Three Times a Woman.

Mathematical concept: prime numbers.

Teacher and student module (definition, examples, extra problems)

In this movie clip we find Danny Kaye explaining the Pythagorean Formula to his students at a boarding school. He does this through song and dance.

Mathematical concept: Pythagorean Formula

Teacher and student module (definition, history, examples, extra problems)

In this television series clip we find Data and his brother along with other members of the Enterprise crew on the "Bridge" of the star ship. A couple of the crew members as explaining to Data's brother how the ship works via geometry. Then Commander Riker states the beginning of the Pythagorean Formula and Data's brother continues the formula but stops short of finishing it.

Mathematical concept: Pythagorean Formula.

Teacher and student module (definition, history, accuracy of the math, example, extra problems)

In this television series clip of Star Trek we find Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock figuring out how to get rid of an alien entity controlling the computer. Mr. Spock comes up with the idea to have the computer "compute to the last digit of pi" knowing that none exists.

Mathematical concept: pi

Teacher and student module (definition, examples, history of pi, extra problems)

In this movie clip we find a passenger riding on a subway or bus. The passenger is thinking out loud and writing down on a folded newspaper the formulas for area of a circle and the circumference of a circle. He also writes down pi to a certain number of decimal places. He writes it out incorrectly.

Mathematical concept:

Teacher and student module (definition, examples, history of pi, extra problems)

museum

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In this movie clip we find Ben Stiller and Amy Adams in the Museum talking to a bunch of Einstein bobble-heads. They want to know the secret to the pyramids. The answer the bobble-head Einstein gives is pi. The Einstein bobble-head gives them a decimal figure but he fails to say that it is only an approximation.

Mathematical concept: pi

Teacher and student module (definition, examples, history of pi, extra problems)

In this movie clip, Drew Barrymore is an undercover agent pretending to be a high school student. She joins a math club called The Denominators and the club holds a pie (pi) bake sale. The banner on the table is what's of interest as pi is listed incorrectly and I mean it's badly incorrect.

Mathematical concept: pi

Teacher and student module (definition, examples, history of pi, extra problems)

In this movie clip Jodie Foster is a scientist. She, along with the other scientists, hear pulse sequences from outer space. The scientists then used the computer to convert the pulse into numbers. These numbers turn out to be the prime numbers from 2 to 101.

Mathematical concept: prime numbers.

Teacher and student modules (definition, examples, extra problems)

fringe

 

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In this television series clip from Fringe Season 1, we find Walter and his son trying to go to sleep in their home. Walter is trying to get himself to sleep by NOT counting sheep, but by counting Fibonacci numbers out loud. Notice that these numbers at times are not in order.

Mathematical concept: Fibonacci Numbers and the Golden Ratio

Teacher and student module (definition, examples, websites on Fibonacci numbers in nature and the world we live in).

In this movie clip we find Tom Hanks character and a French woman police detective standing over a dead body (turns out it was her uncle's). Tom Hanks notices that the numbers left around the dead body are Fibonacci Numbers.

Mathematical concept: Fibonacci Numbers and the Golden Ratio

Teacher and student module (definition, examples, websites on Fibonacci numbers in nature and the world we live in).

In this movie clip, Dr. Richard Kimble, played by Harrison Ford, found guilty of killing his wife, is on the run after a train crash. Tommy Lee Jones, the Federal Marshall, makes an announcement to his deputies about how long the fugitive has been on the run, his average foot speed and how wide the police perimeter should be set.

Mathematical concept: D=RT.

Teacher and students module ( description of the movies clip, confirmation that Tommy Lee Jones was correct, additional examples)

In this movie clip from 007-The World is not Enough, we find James Bond asking the computer guy how far the bomb is from the terminal and what speed it is travel. Bond the calculates the time it will arrive and detonate but he gets it wrong.

Mathematical concept: D=RT

Teacher and students module ( description of the movies clip, proof that James is wrong and what the time should have been, additional examples)

In the movie clip we find the baseball manager wanting to help the kid with his math problem, a "work-related word problem". It's a very funny scene as all the ball players try their best at solving this. It ends with one smart ball player actually solving it with a neat trick. There is also a "flub" as the kid says " I have a really big math tutor" which I believe should have been " I have a really big math test".

Mathematical concept (work-related algebra word problem)

Teacher and student module ( definition, the movies problem worked out, additional example with answers).

In this movie clip we find the local minister helping a boy with his math problem, which happens to be a work-related word problem, "how long would it take to fill a bathtub with a hole in it"?

Mathematical concept: Work-related problem

Instructor and student module ( definition, the movies problem worked out, additional examples with answers).

In this movie clip from Mr Magoriums Wonder Emporium we find Dustin Hoffman asking Jason Bateman (who is applying for an accountant position) to list the 11th through the 16th Fibanocci Intergers. Jason lists the 11th through the 15th alright but forgets the 16th.

Mathematical concept: Fibanocci Numbers

Instructor and student module (definition, examples, websites on Fibonacci numbers in nature and the world we live in).

 

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