Maths From Outer Space wants to redefine what it means to be human! Our scientists have found a way to enhance the spatial and logic capabilities of the human body… In other words, we’ve found a way to make you smarter! Would you like to see if you are qualified to take part in this exciting endeavor?

From here, you can click through to take a math test. This is remarkable for a few reasons. First of all, the fact that a film like this would even incorporate a math test as part of its marketing strategy is pretty interesting. But not only that, by the end of the quiz the difficulty level of the questions went far beyond my expectations. This is a summer movie about aliens, after all, and yet their math quiz ends with questions like this:

Nothing in the quiz goes beyond the level of calculus, but even this level of sophistication is fairly surprising. After all, not even films with subject matter that focuses on mathematics give math quizzes, let alone math quizzes involving calculus.

Unfortunately, it’s not perfect. First of all, there are some mistakes in the quiz – what is one to do when none of the options given is correct?

Overall, though, I must give kudos to District 9 for its proactive stance on the integration of mathematics and film (then again, coming from a distributor called QED International, is it really a surprise?). If only more summer blockbusters would follow this lead. Perhaps other studios will take note, and next year will feature an even more seamless integration between pop entertainment and post-secondary school mathematics.

good things about not being in LA all summer: i had never heard of this movie before it came out this week.

Hi!

This isn't related to your "District 9" post, per se, but commenting seemed the easiest way to contact you. I am a mathematician currently co-editing a book on math and popular culture, and I was wondering if you might be interesting in submitting an essay to our collection? You can find our call for papers at http://www.plu.edu/~sklarjk/cfp.doc. For more info, please email me at sklarjk@plu.edu. (If anyone reading this comment wants to contribute, feel free to write me as well!)

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Jessica Sklar

Associate Professor of Mathematics

Pacific Lutheran University