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Monday, May 30, 2016

Movie Review: "The Man Who Knew Infinity" FIVE SOLDERING IRONS



My wife and I went to see this flick about the mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan.  It was filmed at Trinity College, Cambridge -- if you look at the dedication to "SolderSmoke -- Global Adventures in Wireless Electronics" you will see a picture of my kids at Cambridge.  Alas, that picture was taken at Kings College, not Trinity;  nonetheless, the Cambridge connection got us interested.  Then there was the Indian aspect of the story, which is very intriguing.  There was also the "amateur makes good" angle that all of us should, I think, find very encouraging.

The movie did not disappoint.  We really liked it.  The presentation of the cultural clash was very well done.  Elisa told me that as she watched Ramanujan struggle with England,  she found herself wanting to tell him,  "You are just going through culture shock.  Be patient!  I've been through this many times!" They included just enough math to give the viewer a sense of what Ramanujan was working on. 

I got a real kick out of one scene in which old Professor Hardy, seeking to motivate young Ramanujan, took him into the Wren Library and showed him the manuscript of Newton's Principia. I had seen the same manuscript in the library of the Royal Society in London -- they had take it out on the occasion of the visit to the library of Stephen Hawking and NASA Director Mike Griffin.  They also had on the table the reflecting telescope that Newton himself had made.   That was quite a day.

Great movie.   I give it the coveted rating of five soldering irons.     

More about Ramanujan here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Srinivasa_Ramanujan

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