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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Science > Numbers > The Story Of Math (aka The Story Of Maths/Athena DVD Set)

The Story Of Math (aka The Story Of Maths/Athena DVD Set)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: B     Episodes: A



Renowned Oxford mathematician and researcher Marcus du Sautoy proves himself a brilliant teacher in The Story of Math.  With the help of his Athena/BBC production team, he tackles a subject as far reaching and complex as the history and development of mathematics, and manages to make it both interesting and accessible to even non-mathematically minded viewers.  Mr. du Sautoy's writing and narration are top notch, and no theorem is left unsolved as the episodes trace the earliest usage of mathematics from the chaotic markets and courts of the Bronze Age to the dreams of the Space Age.


"Episode 1: The Language of the Universe", tracks the earliest usage and development of mathematics by the ancient Babylonians and Egyptians, and then covers the massive contributions of the Greeks (Plato and Pythagoras chief among them).  "Episode 2: The Genius of the East", explores Chinese, Indian, and Arab contributions to mathematics.  "Episode 3: The Frontiers of Space", introduces viewers to Descartes' algebra and geometry, and discusses the ground-breaking writings of Sir Issac Newton.  "Episode 4: To Infinity and Beyond", explores the early applications of mathematics to explain the structure of the Solar System.


Commentary from numerous experts in varied fields, wonderful re-enactments, and excellent graphics make this four disc boxed set a wonderful teaching tool.  It comes with a handy Viewer's Guide booklet that summarizes the key points of each of the four episodes, provides additional diagrams, and contains a handy glossary of mathematical terms.  Athena Learning must have had the classroom in mind when producing this set, and Mr. du Sautoy's easy narration will serve to engage even the most apathetic of students.


Athena has also included a bonus feature entitled The Music of the Primes which investigates prime numbers and their relationship to complex theories like the Riemann hypothesis.


The Story of Math tackles a tough subject with aplomb, and will be as at home in the classroom as it is in the living room!



-   Scott Pyle


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