Hotel Hilbert

From Open University, a 30 min 1996 TV film. A young woman, despite the “No Vacancy” sign, asks the front desk for a room. She, and the audience, will enjoy a few paradoxes in transfinite cardinal numbers, and will meet Tristam Shandy, Aristoteles, and a few other interesting characters.


Outside In

Yes, dear readers, another hard-to-find video. If you have a copy, please contact me in private <grin>.

This is a piece of mathematical animation history, and was made on the glorious PDP (for the kids out there, that’s a 16-bit machine. Yep, in our days these usually work as washing machine embedded controllers….) By Nelson Max, published in 1976. It is no exhaggeration to say that generations of mathematicians learned to visualize a possible sphere eversion thanks to this video.

Unfortunately the video is out of print and worse, the masters were lost. The original Topology Film series had four films: the sphere eversion, planar homotopies of curves 1 and 2, and the Sierpinski curve.

In the early 2000, the director worked on a remake of “Outside In”, published in 2004 by A K Peters. That videotape is, as well, very hard to find. Please feel free to contact me in private if you have a copy.

Outside In – Not Knot

This week we have two videos for you, along with two booklets. Everything sold together as a package.

This is serious math, and visual math at its best. Outside In shows the sphere eversion with the Thurston corrugation method. Not Knot shows that most link complements have a structure of hyperbolic space. You need some math background, at the very least you need to be comfortable with “Dimensions” material level; of course, the more the reader’s math background is solid, the better. But, even with a relatively minimal background, you will be highly rewarded.

Touching Soap Films

I am sorry to say that this week we present a not-so-uncommon occurrence, that is, a hard-to-find video, which is out of stock since years and has not been reprinted by the publisher. It is currently unavailable in DVD edition, but there are VHS copies out there. It’s a pity, no, it’s a crying shame, because it presents in a very fun and engaging cartoon, a huge amount of concepts in minimal surfaces. The movie can catch simultaneously the attention of a young child and of a differential geometer. In fact, it also discusses contemporary research topics, which makes it interesting even to minimal surface scholars and optimal geometers. Its only shortcoming is the amount of time and money it took me to get a copy: however, the video was well worth it.


Our math video of the week series is going to present you a video which will no doubt catch your attention for longer than a week.

A couple of hours of mathematical fun, from the second dimension to the fourth and all the way to Hopf fibration, through complex numbers. No prerequisites. Completely free. If you have disposable money, consider sponsoring Dimensions 2.