Pure mathematics is a poetry of logical ideas.
~ Albert Einstein
Beautiful Mind is a meticulously crafted and beautiful
movie, directed by Ron Howard, that tells a great story about John
F. Nash, Jr., played by Russell Crowe, a brilliant mathematician
and Nobel prize winner who struggled through most of his adult life with schizophrenia.
I have taken many
classes, enjoying most, detesting a few, and indifferent to no small
number. But Calculus I and II stand far above the rest
as my most enjoyed, challenging, and fulfilling classes.
Taught by Dr.
Gerald "Jerry" Hile, a fellow Indiana University
graduate and professor at the University of Hawai`i, those were my
favorite classes in my 14-year college career.
derivatives, and integrations; solving problems with pages long
sequences; appreciating the simple, but profound beauty of the
parabola, and scribbling squiggly-lined symbols and brackets to keep
all those calculations in order, my mind was happy. No,
joyful. No, even more than that. Ecstatic!
opened up a whole new realm of logical, rational, and
expansive thinking for me. A new world of abstract
thinking that was tantalizing and stimulating. Exquisite, complex
and delicious, it was my ultimate mind-candy.
Was it the teacher that
made the critical difference? In large part, yes. I
adored Jerry, a down-to-Earth Hoosier, who was also a caring,
soft-spoken, and patient teacher. He loved his subject matter,
and his love for it was contagious. Was it the high it gave
me? Definitely, yes. Besides challenging my mind, I
looked at situations in new ways.
Most of all, I saw its beauty.
Yes. Calculus is darn
And, ironically, all of
this rapture comes from one who hated all things math through high
school and beyond. It was my albatross, and I had fully
expected Calculus to be yet another excruciating struggle and
monumental torment. Instead, my mind ate it up.
Voraciously. For two semesters, I ate, slept, and breathed it, going
above and beyond the requirements of the classes. Calculus was a
subject that I could sink my mental choppers in.
But I was not to linger
long on mathematics. I remained undeterred in my life quest,
no matter how exciting the detour and however tempting the
dalliance. College algebra, trigonometry, statistics and Calculus
were prerequisites for my professional training, ultimately serving
as vital stepping stones in my life's path, as they greatly eased my
passage along that path by developing, testing and honing my
analytical thinking skills.
These many years later, when
I learned that this movie was about a mathematician and directed by
one of my favorite human beings, Ron Howard,
our Big Bear Lake neighbor across Boulder
Bay, I found myself casting wistful, sentimental eyes
backward. The recall of my love affair with mathematics
was sweet, and I made a mental
note to see the movie.
The opportunity to see
it presented itself promptly last night. It was only 6 pm when we
got home from LeRoy's
birthday party. The night, as they say, was
still young. A quick check on the listings showed that it was
playing at the theater closest to us, at 7:30. Perfect
timing for a movie date night with DH.
I won't tell you
specifics about the story, at the risk of spoiling it for you. I
hope you will consider seeing it for yourself. Not to worry if
you are a right-brainer. You don't need to know any math to appreciate
the essence of A Beautiful Mind.
Without giving away too
much, it is about the heart and the mind. It's deep, touching deep
emotional chords. No cloying false sentiments here. Just
rock solid, unwavering love.
Whether the movie gets
any Oscar nods matters little to me. In my book, it's already
a winner. For best director. Best acting for Crowe (and this is the
first movie that I have seen him in). The supporting cast is
superb: Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly, Paul Bettany, Adam Goldberg, Vivien Cardone, Judd Hirsch, Josh Lucas, Anthony Rapp, Christopher Plummer.
music. Absolutely lovely.
(Go to the website, A
Beautiful Mind, for the music theme, "Of One
Heart, Of One Mind" that is looped there. Also
Amazon.com's site has every clip)
I'm listening to it now
as I write this. Ahhhhhhh.....
As I said, lovely.
Trivia: Did you know
that "calculus" means pebble in Greek? As in,
renal (kidney) calculi? In ancient times, the Greek used
pebbles to help them with their mathematical manipulations.
Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz independently created
Calculus; Leibniz, it is said, derived Calculus from
the Chinese, specifically from the binary integers of the I
"I know not how I may seem to others,
but to myself I am but a small child
wandering upon the vast shores of knowledge,
every now and then finding a small bright
pebble to content myself with."
that's it for now. We'll soon be off to our friends'
home. It's Super Bowl Sunday. Never mind who's playing.
(I had to ask. It's the New England Patriots and the St. Louis
Rams. Where are they playing? I don't know) It's a
great excuse for friends to get-together.
"Life is a Gift."
P.S. If you would
like to share a portion of yourself with words, in response to
this journal entry, you may do it here.
only gift is a portion of thyself..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
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