Proof. Family Relations, Memory and Madness (2). General Introduction : The Play & Mathematicians inspiring the play The Film: What’s Added The Play: What’s Deleted Questions Moments of Doubts and Validation Family Conflicts: Catherine and Claire
The Play & Mathematicians inspiring the play
The Film: What’s Added
The Play: What’s Deleted
Moments of Doubts and Validation
Family Conflicts: Catherine and Claire
Ending (1): Catherine’s Guilt and Breakthrough
Ending (2): Robert’s Last Work
Mathematics and Art
Proof by David Auburn; Pulitzer Prize in 2001
The stage: a revolving one so that the audience can see it from different perspectives.
Mathematicians related to the play:
Paul Erdös who began taking amphetamines to keep working ( Hal’s description of the conferences he goes to);
Andrew Wiles –worked on Fermat's Last Theorem in solitude for 7 years (ref. Audrey) ( Catherine’s proof)
Conjecture =假設 ;
Theorem: conjecture which mathematicians believe in but haven’t been able to prove
e.g. Fermat's Last Theorem X3+Y3=Z3，若X、Y、Z都是非零正整數的話，就沒有解。三次方可以換成任何一個次方，只要大於２就好了。Later proved by WilesMathmatics
3. John Forbes Nash, Jr, -- the subject of A Beautiful Mind (1998)—
produced his thesis on game theory at the age of 21, then suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.
resumed living a normal life and studying mathematics and was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1994.
According to Hal: Robert [like Nash] made major contributions to three fields: game theory, algebraic geometry, and nonlinear operator theory.
Nash’s son, John Charles Nash, inherited the disease.
Nash himself liked the play when seeing it at the age of 73. (ref. Audrey)
The lines between genius, solitude and madness
short-lived genius vs. long-term solitary work, which can happen to any academic pursuit
I-Scene 3 “It' not about big ideas. It's work. you've got to chip away at a problem. ”
Maybe these are dominant types, but don’t turn them into stereotypes. e.g. "Geek“ (boring and not fashionable), "nerd“ (unattractive, socially awkward), "wonk“ (a person who works or studies too much) "Dilbert," "paste-eater.“
A. more dramatic
B. more emotional intensity
Present – discovery of the book
Present – work on checking the proof (11:9:40); Catherine’s collapse
Past – Catherine’s bumping into Hal
Past – Catherine’s going to school
Catherine’s and Robert’s workingThe Film: Double plotlines
The play: moves back and forth in Act II between the past
(scenes 1 and 4; four years ago) and the present
Proof: What does the title mean? What are the moments of proof in the film?
Family Relations: How do the two sisters (Catherine and Claire) relate to each other? How do they differ in their ways of thinking and their relations to the father?
Memory: What is bothering Catherine feel about Robert? Why does she say at one point “I stole it from him”?
Gender Relations: How are Catherine and Hal related to each other both professionally and personally? Why can’t they trust each other until the end?
Mathematical Proof & Madness: What does its “being elegant” mean? What does the film say about the “madness” of Robert? How is mathematical proof different from or similar to literary analysis?
In the following four cases, complete trust is difficult, since there is always room for doubt and miscommunication.
(Whether Catherine’s dress is good or not)
Claire -- efficient, practical, and successful sister, not as negative in the play as she is in the film.
to “talk through her proof”
"Let X equal the quantity of all quantities of X. Let X equal the cold. it's cold in December. The months of cold equal November through February. There are four months of cold and four of heat, leaving four months of indeterminate temperature. In February it snow. In March the lake is a lake of ice. In September the students come back and the bookstores are full. Let X equal the month of full bookstores. The number of books approaches infinity as the number of months of cold approaches four. I will never be as cold now as I will in the future. The future of cold is infinite. The future of heat is the future of cold. The bookstores are infinite and so are never full except in September..."