Document Type

Conference Presentation



Conference Title

American Mathematical Society (AMS) / Mathematical Association of America (MMA) Joint Meeting


San Antonio, TX

Conference Dates

January 12-15, 2006

Date of Presentation



Mathematics has played a role in many recent films, such as Good Will Hunting, A Beautiful Mind, and Proof. But how exactly is mathematics being portrayed? What ramifications does this portrayal have on our ”students,” broadly defined? In Good Will Hunting, mathematics is Will’s ticket out of his lower-class life and into a prestigious existence. In A Beautiful Mind, mathematical talent and schizophrenia are identified, at least in part. In Proof, mathematics not only links a daughter to her late father, but it also provides a backdrop for much of the story’s conflict. In this discussion, we will begin by analyzing the role mathematics plays in various films. Then, we will examine possible effects these films have on public (and thus, student) perceptions of mathematics and mathematicians.

Included in

Mathematics Commons