BBC: The Code

| November 23, 2012 | 0 Comments


When it comes to modern science documentaries I am really confused — either science is exceptionally easy to understand and interesting like hell or the documentary creators are exceptionally good at making everything they create sound and appear interesting.You could even say that a typical science documentary these days is 90% flashy effects and great production quality with a 10% pinch of science thrown in. Hey, but if you watch these documentaries with an open mind and an aim to just have fun while learning one or two interesting facts you might actually enjoy them after all. Having said that, I would like to take a look at one of the newer documentaries and see if they can offer anything more than flashy effects and great video quality.

BBC’s “The Code” is in many ways your typical science documentary, or maths documentary to be specific. It has an amazing production value — great video quality, amazing soundtrack and a rather charismatic host Marcus du Sautoy. Unsurprisingly it lacks some raw math material that you could actually benefit from learning. Now it would be unjust to say that there’s absolutely no math thrown in there somewhere, but, to be honest, the documentary covers only the very basics. This includes introduction to prime numbers, some sequences, ratios and so on. Still, even these basics could be covered more thoroughly, for instance, more information about the Golden Ratio or Fibonacci Sequence would have been great.

Despite these rather snobbish comments, I would still recommend watching this merely for its “fun factor”. In simple words, “The Code” is a really fun documentary to watch if you just want to have fun and forget the serious math for a while. Besides that, I noticed that such documentaries have an interesting feature — they can motivate you to study serious mathematics. It’s all because of the high production value and a “movie-like” atmosphere. After all, how can you be bored of learning complex numbers, when their discovery is portrayed as an epic thriller almost as mysterious as the “Da Vinci Code”. Or how can you be bored by geometry after discovering that the masons had love for various numerical sequences and geometric figures, which they used to build breath-taking cathedrals. So, with such spirit in mind, let’s take a look at the first episode of “The Code” simply called “Numbers”.

Part 2|Part 3

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