Thursday, July 22, 2010

Making Sense of the Census [Video]

SIAM just released the videos from this year's Moody's Mega Math Challenge that I mentioned in my last post. They're not available on SIAM's site yet, just YouTube. Here's the five minute mini-documentary.

In total, we produced 10 videos about this year's contest including a 90 second version of the documentary, highlight reels for each of the six finalists, and a recap of the award ceremony. A new segment we did this year was a short bit where the winning team gives some tips to future teams who plan to compete in the challenge.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Math, Math, and More Math

It's turning out to be a mathy year at BMG.

In April, I was back in NYC to cover the finals of the Moody’s Mega Math Challenge. This year, the six finalists (including Princeton High School) battled it out over the best way to conduct the U.S. Census. If you’re dying to know who won, you can check out the final standings, but since the videos are set to be released any day now, I’m not going to give any spoilers here.

But the math doesn’t stop there. Last week, I was invited to Pittsburgh to cover the 2010 SIAM Annual Meeting.

According to their website: SIAM’s Annual Meeting provides a broad view of the state of the art in applied mathematics, computational science, and their applications through invited presentation, prize lectures, minisymposia, and contributed papers and posters.

Translation: More than 1,200 brilliant people get together to share brilliant ideas and talk about how everything is math and math is everything.

Being a non-mathematician, I have to admit that most of the time I didn’t understand much of what was being discussed, but it was still enlightening to see the many applications of math including neuroscience, green building design, and the creation of virtual patient populations. One of the best attended and most entertaining sessions was Dmitri Tymoczko’s community lecture, The Geometry of Music where the Princeton professor, composer, and author showed the audience how music theory relates to geometry. Orbifolds, 3D graphics, music. Neat stuff.

While we were only at the week-long meeting for a little over a day, we managed to cover a lot of ground, shooting about 7 hours of footage and conducting about 30 interviews. The material will be used to create a series of short films for SIAM’s website.