Take the 2-minute tour ×
MathOverflow is a question and answer site for professional mathematicians. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Hi,

I am looking for mathematical documentaries, both technical and non-technical. They should be "interesting" in that they present either actual mathematics, mathematicians or history of mathematics. I am in charge of nourishing our departamental math library (PUCV) and I would like to add this kind of material in order to attract undergraduates toward mathematics. For this reason, I am not looking for videos of conferences or seminar talks, but rather for introductory or "wide public" material.

Here are some good examples.

-"Dimensions", by Leys, Ghys & Alvarez, http://www.dimensions-math.org/ which explains actual maths and is excellent.

-"Julia Robinson and Hilbert's tenth problem", about the life of some great mathematicians.

-BBC documentary on "Fermat's last theorem" (by the way, any information about how to purchase it would be welcome, it does not seem to be possible to do it from the BBC site).

Are there more examples?

Thanks,

Ricardo.

share|improve this question
1  
Not exactly a documentary, but appropriate for an undergrad math library: youtube.com/watch?v=wO61D9x6lNY –  Aaron Hoffman Jun 19 '12 at 18:57
6  
This question should surely be community wiki. –  HJRW Jun 19 '12 at 19:41
2  
Yes, Ricardo: please edit your question and click on the option "communiy wiki" (see the FAQ for more information on what that is). –  André Henriques Jun 19 '12 at 19:55
show 5 more comments

40 Answers

Here is a short film on Paul Halmos.

  • The 44-minute film contains a rare interview with Paul Halmos by Peter Renz, revealing his thoughts on mathematics, and how to teach it and write about it. Five bonus features include comments by mathematicians Robert Bekes, David Eisenbud, Jean Pedersen, and Donald Sarason about their experiences with Halmos. Interviews with Halmos by Don Albers and Halmos's own writings are included as PDF documents
share|improve this answer
show 2 more comments

Well, you may want to check out some short documentaries about beautiful minds. For example, my mathematical idol Kurt Gödel, here is the clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2KP1vWkQ6Y There can be many more examples, just to give the students a taste of what it is like to be a mathematician.

share|improve this answer
add comment

There is a document "Banach spaces" about S.Banach and other polish mathematicians from Lviv ( S.Ulam, J.P.Schauder)

Unfortunetelly I don't know about any translation to english.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJgl_Z9Yz1Q

share|improve this answer
add comment

"Between The Folds" is another beautiful documentary about Math. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tE4lqYzS2m0

share|improve this answer
add comment

You can find a selection of open source maths films on the IMAGINARY platform: http://www.imaginary.org/films

Many of the already mentioned films are there (like Dimensions, Chaos, Braids, etc.), but also some really good new ones, like "The Future of Glaciers", etc. The platform is also open for contributions from outside, so you can come back and find a growing repository of free licensed maths films.

share|improve this answer
add comment

THE THINGS YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND, 2010, Peter and Petra Lataster Mathematician Hendrik Lenstra has no car, no computer and no television. But he is the proud owner of numerous editions of Homer’s Odyssey. Directors Petra & Peter Lataster draw a portrait of Lenstra, a mathematician who thinks on the highest level. And also in daily life he is not interested in the superfluous and the fashionable. http://www.latasterfilms.nl/en/films/the-things-you-dont-understand/

share|improve this answer
show 1 more comment

Leon Henkin, an expert on mathematical logic and induction, made a movie on Mathematical Induction

share|improve this answer
add comment

A very nice interview of László Lovász can be found here: https://www.simonsfoundation.org/science_lives_video/laszlo-lovasz/ A very wide variety of topics are covered (see the 'playlist' at the right hand side)!

share|improve this answer
add comment

The best I have ever seen is "The Proof". It is a Nova documentary on Sir Andrew Wiles and his proof of Fermat's last theorem. I can always find something interesting to talk about with my students who range from algebra one level to calculus.

share|improve this answer
2  
Already mentioned in this answer: mathoverflow.net/questions/100033/… –  Zev Chonoles Feb 15 '13 at 18:31
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.