Mathematicians - mad or glad?
By Murray Bourne, 07 Jul 2006
A recent article (no longer available) by Sean Mitchell, New York Times News Service, gives insight into the success of the TV show Numb3rs. It also describes the mathematically passionate lead character Eppes, played by David Krumholtz.
I liked this bit:
"I'm no mathematician," Krumholtz said. "I think it's more important that I learn who a mathematician is and how he sees the world than it is to actually learn the math."
"The mathematics community has embraced us because the character is a great representation of their passion," he continued. Mathematicians are typically portrayed on on-screen "as mad or emotionally unstable or socially retarded," he said, "and that's not something we wanted to do at all."
As a result, Krumholtz has been invited to three math conventions this year. And Texas Instruments, in association with the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and CBS, has developed a program of math-education activities for teachers geared to the crime-solving techniques used on the show.
I might start watching Numb3rs again. My first experience left me unimpressed, something like the first (and only) time I watched CSI (which was full of holes, scientifically).
But anything that lifts mathematics above the gutter level has got to be a Good Thing...
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