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Mathematics Goes to the Movies

by Burkard Polster and Marty Ross

**Antonia’s Line (1995)**

51:15

ANTONIA: Since when can you do additions?

THÉRÈSE: Since I was three.

DANIELA: Who taught you? Crooked finger helped a bit.

ANTONIA: What is 147 times 48?

THÉRÈSE: 7056, of course.

Antonia writes some number we cannot see.

THÉRÈSE: Square root is 84 (this means that the number we cannot see is 7056,
and indeed…) The square is 49,787,136.

ANTONIA: I regret to have to tell you that your daughter is not normal.

THÉRÈSE: I am a wunderkind.

1:01:00

STORYTELLER: Thérèse soon discovered that thought needed more
that just brains. Her love of music and mathematics provided for the needs of
heart and head. She limited herself to those subjects and became an authority
in both.

PROFESSOR: Your essay has undeniable merits, but it exceeds your assignment’s
limits. I specifically stipulated two pages. You wrote five. So it is insufficient.
In our discipline it is essential, an absolute necessity… Let me put it
this way: “Mastery reveals itself in limitation.”

THÉRÈSE: Since you can’t distinguish quality from quantity, I can only
come to the conclusion that you are incompetent.

1:11:49

Thérèse lecturing mathematics

We can assume that the singular chain complex of the empty set equals zero.
With theorem 5.8 this implies that the nth homology group is the same as the
nth relative homology group, if we take the subspace as the empty set. Now we
can construct a functor from the category... from the category of Top to the
category of chain complexes. Define the functor S* as follows: S* sends the
ordered pair <X,A> to the singular chain complex of the space X divided
by the complex of A.

1:17:03

Thérèse reads “Stochastic and Integral Geometry”

1:37:50

Antonia is dying

STORYTELLER: Her granddaughter Thérèse would not be able to prevent
herself wondering what was the exact volume of Antonia’s last breath.