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Mathematics Goes to the Movies

by Burkard Polster and Marty Ross


Flubber (1997)

Opening titles contain lots of math.
First scene. Wakes up

Professor Phillip Brainard stumbles into life drawing class and begins lecturing.
Last time we were talking about Newton’s Law of Gravitation. To review: We see this “G” is like the “C” in E=mc2. Its constant, constant universe, as much as anything is constant in the universe. It’s saying that the force of attraction between two bodies is in direct proportion to the product of their masses and in inverse proportion to the square of the distance between them. An example would be—Let’s make a naked man “M1” a naked lady “M2”. Now, according to this formula, their attractive forces would want to close the distance to zero. Why don’t they? Hmm? The Earth! Ah. So, in essence that is gravity and this is “Dr Richard’s life Drawing”.

Blackboards. Meet Wilson Croft who steals the Professor’s ideas.


Baseball glove scene. Blackboard in the background.

Blackboard in basement.

Bad guy reading newspaper. Headline: College flunks math.