A while back I was asked to contribute an essay to a book on mathematics and popular culture. I’m pleased to announce that this book is now available for purchase! There are some great essays in this book – I’ll let you decide how mine stacks up with the rest – and it also features a foreword by Keith Devlin, a Stanford University mathematician who you may know as NPR’s Math Guy.
The price of entry is a little steep ($45), but if you’re someone interested in buying many copies (maybe you are a teacher, or maybe you just have a huge crush on David Krumholtz), I can get you a discount on bulk orders.
To whet your appetite, the title of my essay is Counting with the Sharks: Math-Savvy Gamblers in Popular Culture. Here’s the abstract:
While mathematicians in pop culture are often portrayed as misanthropic savants who may or may not be insane, films like 21 have helped usher in a new stereotype: the math-whiz card shark. We explore the origin and development of this stereotype through films such as Rain Man and 21, as well as its appearance in TV shows such as Numb3rs and 2 Months, $2 Million. We also discuss the pros and cons of this stereotype relative to the more traditional one.
In the coming months, I may use some of the other essays in this collection as a springboard for a couple of posts here. So stay tuned!