The Great Gibberish - Mathematics in Western Popular Culture

In Brendan Larvor (ed.), Mathematical Cultures: The London Meetings 2012-2014. Springer International Publishing. pp. 409-437 (2016)
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In this paper, I study how mathematicians are presented in western popular culture. I identify five stereotypes that I test on the best-known modern movies and television shows containing a significant amount of mathematics or important mathematician characters: (1) Mathematics is highly valued as an intellectual pursuit. (2) Little attention is given to the mathematical content. (3) Mathematical practice is portrayed in an unrealistic way. (4) Mathematicians are asocial and unable to enjoy normal life. (5) Higher mathematics is ...

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Markus Pantsar
Aachen University of Technology


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