Mathematical Ethnographies

Is doing research in mathematics a creative process? When mathematicians talk of their subject as beautiful, what do they mean? What are their motivations? Their dreams? Their disappointments?

These themes are explored in the collection of short films seen here. Produced by Chrystal Cherniwchan, Azita Ghassemi and Prof. Jon Keating, and funded by a grant from the University of Bristol Alumni Fund, the films are part of the Mathematical Ethnographies Project. The focus is not on mathematics, but on the people who create and teach mathematics - on mathematicians.

Are Mathematicians Creative?

"... it is hard to see how asking a question which no one has thought about before is a logical process..."

Is a Mathematical Proof Beautiful?

"Were someone asked why a mountain is beautiful, I think they'd struggle to answer..."

False Trails

"Frustration can happen... but probably the remedy is chocolate."

Moment of Truth

"... It's like going from where everything is foggy and then suddenly blue sky and sun."

Some Random Thoughts

"Mathematics is like a perfect world, there is only right or wrong, true or false..."