Also known as "IBM Mathematics Peep Shows," these five short films were commissioned by IBM
and created by Charles and Ray Eames
for inclusion in the 1961 "Mathematica" exhibition that took place at the California Museum of Science and Industry
and the Museum of Science and Industry
At least when it comes to their films, Charles and Ray Eames are probably best known for the short Powers of Ten. Like this film, each of the five Mathematica Peep Shows was a succinct and poignant presentation of a single mathematical concept, communicated through the medium of film, mostly through animation with voice-over narration.
The five films included are:
- A description of the method used by Greek mathematician Eratosthenes to accurately measure the circumferance of the world.
- An introduction to the field of topology, focusing on the division of a plane into regions defined by closed curves.
- An examination of what is meant by "symmetry," how it is defined mathematically, and various theories of how to measure an object's degree of symmetry.
- Something about functions
- A film that uses analogies from everyday experience to convey the notion of what a function is, in laymen's terms.
- An illustration of an exponential progression, a sort of "powers of two" film that preceded powers of ten, which draws its inspiration from a classical anecdote relating to the origin of chess.