Are You Smarter Than Will Hunting?
A Cambridge mathematician suggests that the film’s famously difficult math problem isn’t that hard.
You’ll probably remember a scene in “Good Will Hunting” where an MIT professor poses a math problem to his class that he says took a team of professors two years to solve, prompting Matt Damon’s character to amaze everyone by figuring it out in just one day. Fifteen years after the film’s debut, Cambridge University mathematician James Grimes plays spoil sport, appearing on the YouTube series called Numberphile, and explains that Will Hunting’s solution isn’t actually as difficult as the script makes it out to be. In fact, he says, you just might be able to do it yourself.
If you, nerd that you are, often ponder whether the math problems seen in pop culture are actually real (“The limit does not exist,” anyone?) you might get a kick out of this. Watch and see how you like dem apples. [Slate]