The solution to mathematical problematics often structures the plot in a wide variety of film genres. Examples include the reworking of logical paradigms in Lewis Caroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”, the probability underlying counting cards in Robert Luketic’s “21”, and the game theory behind mutually insured destruction in Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove”. The brilliance of the screenwriting in such movies in addition to the applied nature in which the mathematical themes are introduced makes such concepts much more accessible than they otherwise would be in a 3rd-4th year technical lecture. In this course, we will use movies as a conduit to explore mathematical themes in logic, set theory, graph theory, game theory, and probability and, ultimately, answer the too frequently asked questions - why do we need this math? and How is this applied in the real world? In the lecture portion of this course we will discuss both the math problems that come up in selected movies (ex. Homeomorphically irreducible trees “Good will Hunting”) and the broad mathematical paradigms that structure certain movies (ex. Perfectly informed players in a mutually assured destruction scenario in “Dr. Strangelove”). We will present solutions to problems when applicable, but more emphasis will be placed on the importance of such ideas to the broad field of math, in addition to the importance
of such problems in an applied setting. We hope that this course will be a fun and accessible setting to talk about complex themes, without getting too involved with the technical rigor of such disciplines.
In this course, we will assess students' mathematical reasoning and interpretation, rather than their problem-solving ability (i.e. we will not be requiring them to solve problem sets on lecture material). This will be done through various in-class quizzes on each movie and article assigned in order to make sure students are attentive in completing assigned homework. Students will have a chance to showcase their acquired knowledge through take-home midterm and final exams. Throughout the semester, we will be holding optional screenings for each movie we assign in order to provide students with immediate access to all required resources.
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|Math in Movies||Connor Yen, Emily Huffman||25||106 Dwinelle||[M] 6:30PM-8:30PM||1/27/2020||Open||0||0|