The Discrete Charm of Geometry


A team of mathematicians is working together on a big project. Excitement of discovery, hope and disappointment, competition and recognition are shown from an infinitely close distance. Scientists united by the idea of discretization, which, in short, means: constructing continuous objects from basic building blocks. Akin to the scientists’ search for the right discretization of continuum, this film itself is composed of fragments – individual characters of different ages, temperaments and scientific approaches – which form a single continuous melody. The question of where the boundaries lie between mathematics and the lives of those who are involved in it and how much they are willing to sacrifice is as important as the search for precise scientific answers. A unique and unprecedented dive into the unknown world of mathematicians.

Ein Team von Mathematikern arbeitet an einem großen Projekt. Begeisterung, Hoffnung und Enttäuschung, Konkurrenz und Anerkennung – eingefangen aus nächster Nähe. Wissenschaftler vereint in einer Idee: Diskretisierung. Das bedeutet, kontinuierliche Objekte aus Grundbausteinen zu konstruieren. Wie viel Platz hat die Mathematik in ihrem Leben? Wie viel sind sie bereit für die Wissenschaft zu opfern? Diese Fragen sind genauso wichtig wie die Suche nach präzisen wissenschaftlichen Antworten. Und wie die richtige Diskretisierung, nach der die Wissenschaftler suchen, ist auch dieser Film aus Fragmenten zusammengesetzt – ganz individuelle Charaktere unterschiedlichen Alters, verschiedener Temperamente und mit verschiedenartigen Herangehensweisen kommen zusammen zu einer einzigen kontinuierlichen Melodie. Ein einzigartiger Einblick in die unbekannte Welt der Mathematiker.


A film by
Ekaterina Eremenko

Alexander I. Bobenko
Freeman Dyson
Tim Hoffmann
Emanuel Huhnen-Venedey
Alexander R. Its
John Forbes Nash Jr.
Ulrich Pinkall
Helmut Pottmann
Wolfgang K. Schief
Stefan Sechelmann
Boris Springborn
Yuri Suris
Isabella Thiesen

Produced by
Alexander I. Bobenko
In cooperation with
SFB/TRR 109 Discretization in Geometry and Dynamics

Supported by

© EEFilms 2015







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The Discrete Charm of Geometry on Facebook

Interview of Alexander Bobenko for OTR TV (in Russian)

Ekaterina Eremenko and Alexander Bobenko at Radio Liberty (in Russian)


"Each shot shows beauty or truth, or even both of them. A combination that we know from mathematics."
- Andrew Okounkov, Fields Medal 2006

"A perfect film about mathematics. The story is told in an impressionistic way and that works perfectly. The dabs of colour, the images alone would not explain anything, but together they form a wonderful world. The world of mathematics.
- Public TV in Russia

"The film gives a glimpse into how mathematicians work. It is very worthywhile."
- Louis Nirenberg, Abel Prize 2015

"With striking images, some mathematical humor, a little drama, and a nice puzzle, this is again a very charming movie from director Ekaterina Eremenko."
- John Rognes, Chairman of the Abel Committee

"Mathematics was a horror to me at school, but to my surprise I couldn't turn away from the screen."
- Lev Novozhenov, writer

"Fantastic film. Mathematicians, good looking, happy, intelligent. If you gave up a career in mathematics, it could be that you are green with envy afterwards."
- A viewer