MATH1016 Mathematics Behind Movies and Music (3 units)
Movies and music are art forms that are in many ways important to our lives, so is mathematics. Using a relaxed approach, this course illustrates numerous links between the art forms through movie and music clips playing and lectures to let the audience indulge themselves in movie and music appreciation from a different angle. Technical details and advanced proofs are circumvented to let the audience focus on the beautiful mathematical ideas behind the movies and music and to make the materials accessible to science and non-science majors. Mathematical puzzles have often been used in movie plots to symbolize intelligence. The first part of the course introduces some puzzles appeared in movie scenes, such as the water jug problem in Die Hard and the cooperative game in A Beautiful Mind. Mathematical tools and modelling techniques for solving some puzzles are introduced. The second part of the course deals with the application of mathematics in music. Topics include the construction of various tuning systems, the use of group theory to describe variations of a theme, and the use of probability theory to generate melody. To caution the audience, some false patterns in movies and music are demonstrated in the epilogue.
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