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Two-Night Mathathon: Four Films by George Csicsery 

Wednesday, Mar 13 2013

Since 1970, Bay Area filmmaker George Csicsery has been making short films about a wide range of subjects, with math emerging as his primary interest. Four of Csicsery's math films will play at the Roxie Mon., March 18, and Wed., March 20. Monday night's lineup features 2008's Julia Robinson and Hilbert's Tenth Problem, a look at the American Mathematical Society's first female president, and how her major contributions to the solving of Hilbert's allegedly unsolvable Problem aided in the development of computers. It's paired with 2010's Taking the Long View: The Life of Shiing-shen Chren, about the Chinese mathematician regarded as one of the fathers of modern differential geometry. The Marathon picks back up on Wednesday with what may be the gem of the bunch: 1993's N is a Number: A Portrait of Paul Erdös, a portrait of the wandering (and mercifully subtitled) Hungarian mathematician who published about 1,525 papers with more than 500 collaborators. While you come to terms with the fact that your Erdös Number will never be less than 5, consider the travails of the teenagers in the evening's other film, 2008's feature-length Hard Problems: The Road to the World's Toughest Math Contest. Thankfully, a talent for math is not required to enjoy Csicsery's engrossing documentaries.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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