This was, according to me, an iconic show that ran from January, 2005 to March 2010. It was created by Nicholas Falacci and Cheryl Heuton and was basically about a math professor who helped his brother, who’s an FBI agent, solve crimes using mathematics.
The show started off with Professor Charlie using a simple equation for projectile motion to explain how the origin of a point can be traced using the equation. He uses geographic profiling and estimates a hot zone for the residence of a serial killer.
As the show progresses, we get to know about Don and Charlie Eppes’ personal lives. How Charles was a prodigy who attended Princeton at the age of 14. Charles’ personality is daunting, genius and has a level of purity only a few can understand.
The reasons why I particularly loved this show –
1) The application of math so lucidly explained through clever animation :-
The show focused on the application of math in everyday life. Government agencies, financial analysts, stock brokers, IT companies and mechanical engineers, all rely on one thing, math, to do their routine work.
I absolutely loved it whenever Charlie, Amita or Larry started the sentence with, “Imagine a…”
They’ve had some of the best creative visualizations and super cool explanations for complex mathematical terms which could be understood even by a lay person like me.
2) Nicolas Falacci and Cheryl Heuton against Anti-Intellectualism
Falacci and Heuton are not just a writer duo, but are also married. Dear God, please find me such a husband! 😉 They wrote the series to combat anti-intellectualism, which I’m strictly against as well. What is the need to chide science and math geniuses in school and college? Why do people make fun of them? Not just because of inferiority complexes but also because of what media has popularly showcased today. Starting from the harassment of “nerds” by other students at school to shows and news reports that focus on the lives of soap opera stars and film actors, the world has transgressed into an anti intellectual environment with the very importance of studies declining.
In this respect, I appreciate the effort put forward by these two gorgeous writers and I wish there were more of such shows! (special mention here – House M.D). They even went on to win the Carl Sagan Award for Public Understanding of Science together.
3) The very character, Charles Eppes –
Charles is my all time favourite hero. Really! Not just because he’s a mathematical prodigy, but also because of his loyalty to his brother. His views of the world are so very logical that he negates the common view of people that intellectuals (or rather “nerds”) are easy to fool. Because let me tell you people, you don’t mess with Charlie Eppes.
In addition to this, Charles’ humility is worth accounting for. He is a celebrated scientist who even has NSA security clearance, but is still the students’ favourite. Not because of his ingenuity but also because of how relatable and generally friendly he is! He connects with his students and other people around him. I guess knowledge really does make you humble. Also, Charlie and Amita’s relationship is not just pure,it is a different level! Their love is inexplicable in words.
4) Brother Bond!
In today’s day and age where familial relations are on a steep decline and siblings are fighting amongst themselves for selfish desires, this show has shown the relationship of two brothers in a realistic, yet classic style. It is cliché that if there’s a prodigy in the family, the parents have to direct their attention towards him because, they need it! They need the special care for their talents to grow. Which is what Alan and his wife had to do. Don grew apart from his brother but their work together helped their relationship grow. He naturally cared for Charlie but their childhood had messed up their relationship a bit. Yet, the bond that grows between them and the way they look out for each other is not just something to drool over, but is also something to learn from. Rob and David have played this exemplary duo very well, in fact.
5) The math, of course.
The math in this show was very much real. In addition to that, what I loved was that, this show has dedicated blogs that explain all of the math Charlie uses. No doubt, there was a team of mathematicians behind the scenes, working hard to get the math right,but it is amazing how people have come up with so many blogs to actually explain the equations and math in the show. I have added the links to some such blogs –
I would like to add a special mention of David Krumholtz, who worked so very hard for this role and looked every bit like my dream math professor and I;d also like to congratulate him on fighting out of the cancer that had engulfed his body at one point of time.
In fact, it is not just him, all the actors Peter MacNicol, Alimi Ballard, Diane Farr Navi Rawat, Dylan Bruno, Judd Hirsch, Aya Sumika, Sophia Brown, Sabrina Lloyd and Michelle Nolden have given commendable performances and have made the show a success. I especially loved how Alimi Ballard was always such a great friend and employee to Rob Morrow.
This show is not just a simple series on math and its applications, it is a classic. All of us should take the lesson of hard work from Charlie and more importantly, we must keep in mind what the writers in the show really wanted, a fight against anti-intellectualism. We shouldn’t let ourselves be bogged down by social media and these pointless rants about who has millions or rupees and dollars, instead we should focus on the realm of beautiful books and poetry out there which have been set down in print specifically for us to increase our knowledge, intellect and rationale.
See you soon!