Rites of Love and Math…

…and boinking. This, perhaps, is what I would’ve named the independent film Rites of Love and Math in order to diffuse some of the pomp.

For those of you who have not heard, Rites of Love and Math is an independent film starring a mathematician, and is inspired by the 1966 Japanese short film Yukoku (which can be seen in its entirety here; the standard Wikipedia synopsis is here). This Japanese film depicts an army lieutenant who knows he will be ordered to execute his friends after a failed coup d’état; in order to avoid this fate, he and his wife commit ritual suicide together, after making sweet love one final time.

If you ask how something could be inspired both by this film and mathematics, Rites of Love and Math is your answer. This mathematical interpretation, which premiered at the Berkeley Film and Video Festival late last year, replaces . . . → Read More: Rites of Love and Math…

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A Certain Ambiguity

I recently read the 2007 novel A Certain Ambiguity, one of several mathematically-influenced gifts I received for Christmas. Written by Gaurav Suri and Hartosh Singh Bal, the novel explores the certainty of knowledge through the prisms of mathematics and religion. The story is told through from the perspective of a Stanford undergraduate, whose grandfather was a mathematician and who, it is discovered (spoiler alert!), was arrested in the early twentieth century under a blasphemy law in New Jersey for remarks he made against organized religion.

The grandson, Ravi Kapoor, delves into this mysterious part of his grandfather’s past while taking a mathematics class analogue of “Physics for Poets” – in other words, a math class aimed at non-mathematics students. The story jumps between classroom discussions and fictionalized historical records in an attempt to make clear the beauty of mathematics and give insight into the quest for truth (including, but not . . . → Read More: A Certain Ambiguity

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