2012/11/22

I still see a dream that I don't have enough math credits to graduate highschool

I kept saying to myself that I need to follow up Math contest blog post but... now... I can't recall what I was trying to add to it... haaa...:(

So I guess I’m just going to list up some stuff that were interesting to me while researching around the subject…

First thing first, “The Housekeeper and theProfessor” written by Yoko Ogawa. 
"The Housekeeper and the Professor" by Yoko Ogawa
The title sounds a bit like Harlequin romance, but it's not.
Not sure why it’s ended up with this English title but the literal translation of the novel would be “The Professor's Beloved Equation”. This novel is known to be the originator of recent math boom in Japan. It’s a very beautiful novel.. great marriage between math and literature. It describes the beauty of mathematics in such a delicate words… Even you don’t like math or numbers, I bet you will enjoy this and discover how romantic math subject can be. I’m not going to write the details of the book hoping you will check this later. There’s a movie of this novel too (but not sure there’s subtitle) and I found it’s also fantastic.

I enjoyed the novel and film “The Housekeeper and the Professor” but to be honest, I wasn’t so convinced that there’s an actual relation between math and romance. I believed that author’s magic and skill made it so romantic… until I find this documentary.


Fermat's Last Theorem (BBC, 1996)
Dear Sir Andrew Wiles,
          Please write your memoir... Not just about Fermat, but I'd like to hear more about the time you went to library and flipping through books with problems... 


It’s a documentary around Fermat’s last theorem proven by Andrew Wiles. He explains the struggle and excitement of proving this problem in a way that non-mathematicians can understand. Though I don’t understand the mathematical part, I could feel his strong passion and persistence towards this problem and math… I thought “Oh my gosh, so there’s a math professor like a novel for real…” and after discovering this, I started to check some books and documentary around math...(but not math problems or textbook...)

I’ve always thought that mathematics are all about remembering equation and solution method (and I needed a song to remember a trig function, just like I remember multiplication tables by song. well, it’s common in Japan), but as I dig, it seems like the real math is close to philosophy, requiring so much imagination. And it’s also interesting that almost all the books I’ve read around mathematics include the phrase of “god of mathematics”, such as “I think I saw a light of the god of math”, “I felt the existence of the god of math but I found I’m not able to go near it.” Hmm….

Throwing Natural logarithm table from Prime number stairways... / From NHK documentary

Other resources that I enjoyed are…Documentary around Poincaré Conjecture and Riemann Hypothesis made by NHK. (Available at NHK on demand, only in Japanese) They use many visual examples to explain how grand and how miraculous those problems are. I recommend these especially for someone who hated mathematics at school (like me).

And for math contest and math camp, there’s a great British documentary around International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). I can’t compare this to what I’ve seen this summer (this is way too extreme, but I guess it's normal, because this is "Olympiad") but you can get the sense how the Mathematical camp look like. Along the IMO selection process, the film features very bright students’ struggles at school, family, autism and love (so sweet). Very interesting.

"Beautiful Young Minds" 2007

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