The Great Math Mystery

Human beings have always looked at nature and searched for patterns. But what do these patterns tell us? Why should the fractal spiral shape of the Nautilus’ shell be so similar to the spiral of a galaxy, or the spiral found in a sliced open head of cabbage? There are still many unanswered questions that keep physicists and mathematicians busy to this day.

This documentary takes a grand tour through the discoveries mathematics have helped solved across the ages, and hopes to answer why these patterns and fractals are repeated everywhere in our cosmos.

Math has been essential to almost every forward propelling invention and technology: From the first wireless radio transmissions to the prediction and discovery of the Higgs boson and the successful landing of rovers on Mars. But where exactly does mathematics get its predictive power?

Astrophysicist and writer Mario Livio, along with a colorful cast of mathematicians, physicists and engineers, follows math from Pythagoras to Einstein and beyond, all leading to the ultimate riddle: Is math an invention or a discovery? Humankind’s clever trick or the language of the universe?

The Great Math Mystery
  • Info
  • Release date15 April, 2015
  • Full runtime54min
  • Directed byDaniel McCabe, Richard Reisz
  • Produced byWGBH