Life By The Numbers
A lively six-part survey of mathematics that covers such topics as dimensions, odds, how math affects sports, and how educators and researchers are coming up with new ways to make math 'make sense'
From the smallest micro organism to the planets and the stars, life can be a wondrous journey of discovery where almost everywhere and everything is affected by numbers. Enter the exciting world of the Science of Mathematics with our host Danny Glover.
Life by the Numbers is the overall title for a series of TV programs on mathematics produced by WQED Pittsburgh with support from a number of foundations and corporations. The first program in the series was shown on PBS on April 8, 1998. Subsequent programs were transmitted to affiliate stations which were free to schedule them at any time; many have delayed showing them until June. The series has a supporting web page, and an accompanying book by Keith Devlin.
The series is presented by actor Danny Glover, who puts his dramatic skills to good use, introducing each program with an inviting tease, and narrating most of what follows. Almost no formulas are presented, none are dwelled on, and intuitive understanding, especially with visual cues, is emphasized throughout. Typically, each show highlights a half dozen related topics, with key practitioners profiled in an engaging fashion.
Seeing is Believing
Special Effects… What you see is what you get? Not if you enter the fascinating world of special effects. From Renaissance paintings to major motion pictures, the world of mathematics plays a pivotal role in the creation of these fantastic illusions, even venturing forth into a world beyond, a fourth dimension.
The Numbers Game
Sports… Athletes want to throw farther, race faster, jump higher and play better. All of this is possible through the use numbers. Far beyond keeping score and utilizing statistics, both extremely helpful tools toward improved athletic accomplishment, numbers can improve one other very important area as well.
Patterns of Nature
Biology… Ever feel like your life is being watched under a microscope? Well part of its is and numbers are playing an important role. Exploring the world of biology, one can’t help but marvel at the role of mathematics.
Chances of a Lifetime
Probability… Every day we face a world of possibilities using mathematics to make sense of our lives. Statistics are everywhere, data is crucial, can we predict the future?
Shape of the World
Exploration… Mathematics. We’d all be lost without it. Literally. Without mathematics we’d have no maps, no globes, no idea what the world really looks like. Where are you right now? Without numbers you’d never know.
A New Age
Information Age… The past, the present, they’re in the numbers. Humans have relied on mathematics to build the world in which we live. And the future? The coming of the information age where knowledge is power? Whether it’s managing a government or a personal computer, the systems are numbers based and the vast possibilities of the new era will be one in which we progress just as far as the numbers can take us.