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Mathematics Goes to the Movies

by Burkard Polster and Marty Ross


Forbidden Planet (1956)

Good blackboard in Dr Morbius’s study.

Explaining how he figured out the language of the Krell.
DR. MORBIUS: Twenty years ago I began here with this page of geometrical theorems. Eventually I was able to deduce most their huge logical alphabet. I began to learn.

Captain: What was the power source?
DR. MORBIUS: May I draw your attention to these gages all around here, gentlemen. Their calibrations seem to indicate that they are set in decimal series, each division recording exactly 10 times as many Amperes as the one preceding it. Ten times ten times ten times ten …. on and on and on, row after row, gage after gage. But, there is no direct wiring that I can discover. However, when I activate this machine it registers infinitesimally, you see down there in the lower left-hand corner. And, then, when I activate the educator here, it registers a little bit more.
Dr. ???: But this much is negligible, the total potential here must be nothing less than astronomical.
DR. MORBIUS: Nothing less, he number ten raised almost literally to the power of infinity.