To infinity and beyond: my articles for The Guardian on The Man Who Knew Infinity

8 Apr

Jeremy Irons and Dev Patel star in The Man Who Knew Infinity, filmed in Trinity College, Cambridge where the real-life maths duo of GH Hardy and Srinivasa Ramanujan worked

The latest in a long line of films about improbably brilliant maths minds, The Man Who Knew Infinity, opens in UK cinemas today. I won’t review it here, since I’ve written a whole raft of stuff about it for the Guardian as “branded content” (in other words, the film company pay the Guardian to carry relevant articles), so you would be rightly sceptical about my impartiality.

As it happens, I did really like the film – Jeremy Irons deserves an Oscar nom imo as the emotionally repressed Cambridge don who takes poor young Madras maths prodigy Srinivasa Ramanujan (Dev Patel) under his stiff upper wing, and though it has emotional heft it doesn’t dumb down the maths – but rather than going on about it, let me just direct you to some cool stuff on the Guardian website I put together around the theme:

Could you be a maths genius? I got Mensa, the High IQ Society, to set a quiz. Even my brain-box son got stumped halfway through, so yes, it ain’t easy. But it requires no advanced maths knowledge; it’s more a test of reasoning. Leave me a Comment if you get through it, I’ll be impressed!

Are you smarter than an 11-year-old? Stumped by the above quiz? Then try this one, taken from sample Key Stage 2 maths papers. If you can’t do this one, best keep quiet about it.

The Beauty of Maths – in pictures. I love this one, though it was a bugger to research and write the captions for, when my Maths doesn’t extend beyond A Level (and even then I struggled incredibly hard to attain my lowly C grade). If nothing else… Look! Mandelbrot! Pretty pictures!

And a bunch of other stuff: Galleries, trailer, Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons on the making of the film… and if you look at today’s Guardian, that’s my cover wrap round G2, that is 🙂


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