NOVA's The Great Math Mystery

(Rochester, N.Y.) – Underlying civilization’s stunning advancements and the technological wonders of the modern age is something deep and mysteriously powerful: mathematics. But where does math come from, and why does it work so well to explain our physical world? Is it humankind’s clever trick, or the deeply embedded language of the cosmos? In The Great Math Mystery, NOVA, and a colorful cast of the world’s top mathematicians, physicists, and engineers embark on a mathematical mystery tour—a provocative exploration of math’s astonishing power as it has evolved over the centuries—to ponder a profound question: is math an invention or a discovery? NOVA's The Great Math Mystery premieres on WXXI-TV on Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at 9 p.m.

Whether we think we’re good with numbers or not, we all use math in our daily lives. In The Great Math Mystery, NOVA sheds fascinating
light on how math works in our brains and why it works so well.  Math is essential in art, architecture, and music.  It is evident everywhere in nature and the patterns of our world--from the spiral in the center of a sunflower, to the swirl of a nautilus shell or the whirlpool of a galaxy. Math reveals the secrets behind the elliptical orbits of the planets and the electromagnetic waves used in the first wireless radio transmissions. It predicts the discovery of the Higgs boson and the successful landing of rovers on Mars.  

NOVA spins through stunning examples of math’s power that permeate history, drawing on Pythagoras, Galileo, Sir Isaac Newton, Albert
Einstein, and more—and taps into the world’s top modern-day minds, who continue to puzzle over whether math’s tremendous potency is the hidden language of the universe or all in our heads.

Pictured: Astrophysicist and writer Mario Livio
Credit: Courtesy of NASA ESA J. Coyle Jr. for STScI



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