Extraordinary People: Hollywood Math and Science

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Jonathan Farley and Tony Harkin are gifted academics, and they’re on a mission  to bring math to the masses.  If you’ve ever seen “Flatland: The Movie” or the  TV show “Numb3rs,” you’ve gotten a taste of their work. Their company is called  Hollywood Math and Science Consulting.  Farley started it in 2003, because he  was tired of seeing junk math in the movies.   He says business is good.  “We  just worked on an episode of the hit TV show ‘Elementary,'” he says.  

For one episode of ‘Elementary’  the show’s writers gave Farley and  Harkin the answers to five formulas and asked them to come up with the math.   But that’s not all.  They were sent 9 notebooks and told to fill them with data  based on the number known as Belphegor’s Prime.  You can see their work in  several scenes throughout the show.

“I’m not sure if we’re really smart  or there’s just a lot of math phobia in society that prevents people from being  really interested in it, as much as they could be,” says Harkin.  “You’re  dispelling the phobia one episode of television at a time,” says Maureen.   “That’s the purpose of Hollywood Math and Science!” replies.

Farley and  Harkin grew up in Brockport.  Farley teaches at Morgan State University in  Baltimore, Harkin at RIT.  They’re mathematicians, not marketers, but their work  for Hollywood is a big win for math and science.

For more information  about Hollywood Math and Science Film Consulting, click here.

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