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Mathematics Goes to the Movies

by Burkard Polster and Marty Ross

**Twilight Zone: I of Newton (1985)**

Sam, a mathematics professor (Sherman Hemsley) is puzzling over a problem at
the background. The camera pans over his calculations on the blackboard. We
see a book “Geometry Exposed” on his desk.

SAM: The integral of d of x over cosine to the n of x is … ah …
sine x over n minus one, times the cosine to the … No, No! Sam searches
amongst a table of screwed-up papers. He thinks he has found what he’s
looking for and goes back to the blackboard. To the n minus one, x plus n minus
1. No! That can’t be it! He searches again. n minus two over n minus one,
to the integral … Dammit! I’d sell my soul to get this thing right!

The devil (Ron Glass) appears, and begins a discussion over the selling of the
professor’s soul.

2:10

DEVIL: O.K. Here’s the deal. All that mathematical lingo you were spouting,
it’s beautiful, Man, it’s like poetry. Brought tears to my eyes.

2:36

SAM: Yeah, well, you can just go back to whatever Stigeon depths you came from
Fella, because I have no intention, thank-you, of selling my soul for the solution
of any equation.

5:50

DEVIL: I know just the buyer for you. There’s this world where the dominant
life forms are living sentient binary digits. You could be a decimal! In time,
work your way up to a fraction!

7:46

Having defeated the devil, Sam goes back to his mathematical problem.

SAM: Well, that guy was no help at all!

REMARKS: It is very difficult to read the mathematics on the blackboard, though
it appears to include the Riemann zeta function, and Bernoulli numbers.