The countdown to summer is ON. We know that for the next few weeks, most of you will have your heads buried in your textbooks and class notes, but we promise, the end is near. Studying hard now will pay off, and you know that all the effort is only temporary- in a short while you’ll be able to chill out and relax for 3 whole months! Although we don’t recommend you spend your entire summer on a couch in front of the TV, we know it’s bound to happen on on a rainy weekend or at the end of a busy day. Instead of watching mind-numbing reality TV shows, or whatever over-hyped summer blockbuster is out, check out the Math Guru’s favourite movies instead. Each one has some relation to math/science, but it won’t feel like you’re sitting in your 9:00am functions class. We promise, it is possible to learn and get a little inspired while still Netflix and chillin.
The Imitation Game
This historical drama is based on the life of Alan Turing, a mathematician who was basically one of the first computer coders. He helped fight the Nazis in World War II by deciphering the messages sent over the Enigma machine (the tool the Nazis used to secretly communicate their radio signals). Obviously, the story has been “Hollywoodized” but one thing is made clear, Turing’s work was essential in giving us modern day computer science and artificial intelligence.
An all time classic, so many people forget that the main character Cady Heron (a.k.a. Lindsey Lohan) is actually a huge math nerd. Though we don’t approve of Cady’s attempt to at first hide the fact that she is a complete math genius, she redeems herself in the end when she competes with the Mathletes and ends up winning the competition for her school. If there’s one thing we can learn from Cady, it’s that beauty and brains are not mutually exclusive and you should always own it!!
Good Will Hunting
This is probably one of the most #inspirational films listed here. Starring Matt Damon (so you can’t complain), this drama is about a delinquent who works as a janitor at MIT. When he happens upon a difficult math problem left on a chalkboard, he’s able to solve it correctly. What follows is a series of dramatic/emotional events, but the film is rooted in Will’s newly revealed genius. Bonus trivia: University of Toronto Prof. Patrick O’Donnell served as a mathematics advisor for the movie. He also made a cameo as the character “Marty” and it’s his handwriting that appears on all the blackboards throughout the movie.
For the sports fans (and/or Brad Pitt enthusiasts), Moneyball combines both plus a whole lot of math vibes. The movie is based on the true story of Oakland Athletics baseball team’s 2002 season. It follows how the General Manager and Assistant General Manager draft a team using a “Sabermetric” approach- which is the fancy term for analyzing baseball based on empirical evidence (a.k.a STATISTICS). Didn’t think math and sports could co-exist? Think again.
The Theory of Everything
Ok, don’t expect to finish watching the Theory of Everything and understand quantum physics. Less educational and more biographical, this film follows the personal life of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. Though the movie does portray some of his his work it does focus more on his disability and family life. Pick the Theory of Everything if you’re being tempted by a sappy rom-com, but want to go for something that’ll make you feel a little more cultured.