President of the Mathematical Association of America, 2019-2021
Professor of Mathematics
Brigham Young University
Provo, Utah 84604
Bio: Michael Dorff is President of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and a professor of mathematics at Brigham Young University. He earned his Ph.D from the Univ. of Kentucky, has published about 50 mathematics papers, and has given about 500 talks on mathematics. He is interested in promoting mathematics to the general public, in non-academic careers in mathematics, and in undergraduate research. Also, he co-directs the MAA PIC Math program (Preparation for Industrial Careers in the Mathematical Sciences) and is a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society and a Fulbright Scholar in Poland. He is married with 5 daughters. In any free time he has, he enjoys reading, running, and traveling (he has traveled to 49 U.S. states and 45 countries).
Talk title: How mathematics is making Hollywood movies better.
Abstract: What’s your favorite movie? Star Wars? Avatar? The Avengers? Frozen? What do these and all the highest-earning Hollywood movies since 2000 have in common? Mathematics! You probably didn’t think about it while watching these movies, but math was used to help make them. In this presentation, we will discuss how math is being used to create better and more realistic movies. Along the way, we will discuss some specific movies and the mathematics behind them. We will include examples from Disney’s 2013 movie Frozen (how to use math to create realistic looking snow) to Pixar’s 2004 movie The Incredibles (how to use math to make an animated character move faster). Come and join us and get a better appreciation of mathematics and movies.