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Maths In The Movies
Celebrities We Bet You Didn't Know Love Maths
25th March 2013
Too many people find it hard to connect a love of maths with anyone "cool". Maths is too often seen as boring, nerdy and out of touch with the real world, when in truth maths is a vibrant ever changing discipline which makes possible nearly every scientific discovery and facet of modern life from the technology behind your iphone, to space travel and social media. In truth, the people who populate and appreciate this dynamic world are as diverse as the applications of maths itself.
Brian May actually was a real maths teacher, way back in the 1970's before he joined the mega rock band Queen. When he became a teacher, maths was a natural choice as he graduated with a Bachelor of Sciences degree in physics from the Imperial College of London. He taught in Brixton, one of the most deprived areas in the country. He says
"It was very challenging - the biggest challenge was to get people to stay in their seats - seriously! It was quite difficult, but I always enjoyed maths and was able to make it feel fun to them. Maths gets a bad reputation because it's portrayed as boring. But if you draw pictures or give enough examples, it's not. The biggest reward for me was the kids that stayed on to get exams."
There are many connections between maths and music but we bet you didn't know that Bohemian Rhapsody was performed by an ex maths teacher!
The actress who plays the neurobiologist Amy Farrah Fowler in the hit show The Big Bang Theory actually has a lot in common with her character. She has a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA, a discipline which uses a lot of maths. She is also the ambassador for the huge calculator makers Texas Instruments. "I think when you look at the statistics of which percentage of jobs will require a background in math and science, it's about 70 percent," she has been quoted as saying in an interview. "That is speaking to an absolute need for STEM education."
She explains that having a science and maths based career is "a wonderful and creative way to live your life... and it opens up tremendous opportunities. It's a cool way to look at the world. It's a beautiful thing to know how waves keep crashing and what it means to see a shooting star."
Dexter Holland is the Lead Singer of the band The Offspring.This punk rocker was valedictorian at his high school and went on to study at the University of Southern California where he received a Bachelor's Degree in biology and a Master's Degree in Molecular Biology. While some people think biology does not use as much maths as other scientific disciplines, "BIO2010" a 2003 report by the National Research Council confirms that maths is integral to all types of study in Biology. Holland earned his nickname, 'Dexter' from friends when he was a student due to his studious nature and high grades. He was in the middle of his Ph.D when The Offspring hit the big time, so he left the course to focus on his musical career.
Comedian Dave Gorman studied mathematics at Manchester University and consequently his comedy is peppered with charts, graphs and formulae. For example, when talking about his quest to find other people with the same name as him called "Are you Dave Gorman?" he presents a graph called "Miles per Dave Gorman."
He makes maths accessible and very funny. In his stand-up comedy he says it's a shame he had to drop out of his course to pursue his dream of doing comedy because he "found the whole subject fascinating"
Dara O' Briain
Dara studied Maths and Theoretical Physics at University College Dublin and has a passion for the subject that crosses over into his comedy career. He now co-hosts the maths/comedy show "The School of Hard Sums." He explains that "Comedy and maths have something in common, which is, in both you compare one thing to another. So the way your brain works for either is not enormously dissimilar."
He explains why he thinks there is a renewed interest in maths in the world of television "Maths is the language of reason and rationality and I think recently people got tired of nonsense-peddlers. We don't have a name for this movement, but it's there. Astronomy intake at universities has gone up; physics intake has gone up."
You don't need to have obtained a degree to love maths. Former Playschool presenter Johnny Ball left school at 16 with two O levels (equivalent to today's GCSE's). However one of these qualifications was in maths and he has since spent his life promoting the importance of maths and science, presenting several series of popular science and technology programmes intended for children. He also now delivers "funtastic" maths lectures to schools and colleges.
He has been quoted as saying "Maths was my favourite subject at school and I was lucky enough to make a career out of it. But if you find you struggle a bit, you can really have fun learning how to do it better or just brushing up on your skills." We at ConquerMaths.com couldn't agree more!
He is one half of singing duo Simon and Garfunkel, who are responsible for many iconic tracks including Mrs.Robinson. Few people are aware that as well as being an award winning musician he is also an ardent lover of maths. He holds a master's degree in mathematics from the University of Columbia and when the band were at their most famous, he was working towards a doctorate in mathematics education at Columbia University's Teacher's College. Unfortunately he had to quit halfway through but following the duo's split, he returned to teaching Mathematics at a private school.
There are other celebrities that we have not featured here, and there are all types of interesting, successful and clever people who are involved with, and have a passion for maths, in every corner of the world. These people use maths to do incredible things, and to advance the human race on a daily basis. When you are using ConquerMaths.com you can be counted among them. We at ConquerMaths.com think that is pretty cool in itself.