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Math Help - A Beautiful Mind

  1. #1
    Junior Member NowIsForever's Avatar
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    A Beautiful Mind

    I just watched A Beautiful Mind for the second time, and there are two things that I'd like feedback on.

    1) John's erstwhile girlfriend asks him "how big is the universe?" He replied that it was infinite. Well, I for one am not convinced that it is. Inconceivably large is not infinite. Are there any other opinions here?

    2) For John's first attempt to teach a class, he writes a problem on the board. Did anyone catch what the problem was? Was it merely a prop? I tried to transcribe what was written, but it didn't make much sense to me. Something about function spaces, it seemed. Anyway, the last line was a number. The answer is a number, the ratio of two dimensions. It was a real number, probably. Perhaps it's a natural number, but a number, nevertheless. If the problem was an actual-real-live mathematical problem, then what is it, what is its history (if any) and what is the answer? Giving the statement of the problem and the answer is not giving the solution, for that would require giving the steps leading up to the answer, and that is NOT what I want.

    Thanks for anything, Charles
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  2. #2
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    I had the opportunity to have a professor (in functional analysis) who had a lot of personal experiences of John F Nash Jr. Basically, the movie is almost entirely fiction. The book, however, is supposedly fairly close to real events.

    Regarding that problem on the board, if you pay attention and freeze frames, you'll notice the "problem" on the board changes between cuts. So not only is it a bogus problem, it's many bogus problems. (As far as I recall from doing this a few years back when the movie was new - at the time I did not really possess the mathematical knowledge needed to interpret it, but I asked some who did).
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  3. #3
    Junior Member NowIsForever's Avatar
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    Re: A Beautiful Mind

    I now have some more information on this. I was able to get a screen shot of the problem, and it is probably just a prop from what I can see, because two different versions are available depending upon the shot involved. You can see this in the composite of the screen shots that I made in the pic pointed to by the link below. One has R and the other has R.

    Math Pics :: A Beautiful Mind picture by NowIsForever - Photobucket

    Someone on Drexel's Math Forum answered most of my questions with a link to a prior thread:

    http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?threadID=2041970
    Last edited by NowIsForever; May 14th 2010 at 10:31 PM. Reason: Update
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