Mathematical Digest


Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Exploiting a Beautiful Mind," by Daniel Rockmore. Chronicle of Higher Education, 25January 2002.

Daniel Rockmore, a professor of mathematics and computer science at DartmouthCollege, reviews here the movie A Beautiful Mind. The movie is afictionalized account of the life of the mathematician John Nash and is veryloosely based on the acclaimed biography by Sylvia Nasar. Rockmore's articlebrings biographical details of Nash's life together with a lucid explanation ofsome of his greatest works. Interspersed are some comments on the movie, whichRockmore disliked. ``[I]t was with a little shock, and much dismay, that I satthrough the movie, A Beautiful Mind, squirming amid the conflation offact, fiction, and fantasy, and the reappearance of all the oldmathematician/scientist stereotypes,'' he writes. Rockmore notes that thetheater, rather than the cinema, might be the venue of choice for communicatinga sense of what mathematics is really like. ``The simpler scale, theimmediacy, even the smaller budgets hint that the play is to the movie asmathematics is to the big science of the laboratory or engineering center,'' hewrites.

--- Allyn Jackson