- Format: PAL
- Language: English
- Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Number of discs: 2
- Classification: U
- Studio: The Open University
- DVD Release Date: 13 Oct. 2011
- Run Time: 180 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B0062YDIXO
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 37,949 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
The Code [DVD]
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Hidden in the world around us are mysterious symbols and bizarre numbers. Do they hold the key to understanding the universe? Professor Marcus du Sautoy (presenter of The Story of Maths and The Music of the Primes) takes us on a gripping treasure hunt to discover the codes that unlock the power of nature. Marcus visits a medieval cathedral with the secret numbers of creation built into its stones, sees the plague of insects which sweeps Alabama every 13 years, finds cubic crystals in caves beneath our feet and meets the detective using equations to hunt serial killers. The three programmes are: Numbers, Shapes and Prediction.
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Top customer reviews
If maths isn't your thing then there's no need to run and hide: there's hardly a hint of an awful equation or stodgy plodding through tedious theories.
Instead, each programme is made up of short segments which bunny-hop around the globe, using familiar and historical examples to demonstrate du Sautoy's argument that everything boils down to numbers in the end. There's nothing to challenge your attention span and plenty of eye-candy to keep you watching, even when du Sautoy is explaining complex number sequences and how pi turns up just about everywhere. Hence the Giant's Causeway is linked to how soap bubbles form; we learn what governs starlings in flight and how web search engines work; find out how to accurately dodge flaming projectiles from a mediaeval catapult, and discover that prime numbers affect the breeding cycle of a type of grasshopper.
The explanations often skimmed along the surface of the subject, leaving me intrigued rather than completely informed. The series aims to inspire us to learn more, rather than get to grips with the fine mathematical detail. This means it's accessible to everyone, but it also means that I felt a little short-changed at times. Du Sautoy seemed to be saying that we can leave behind superstitious belief systems and explain everything with math: but then he built up the mystery and majesty of `The Code' to the point where it became almost as inexplicable as any old-time deity.
I also didn't enjoy the constant repetition throughout each programme, where the content is trailed at the start, recapped halfway through, and repeated at the end with a trail for the next episode. Yes, thank you: got it the first time. Didn't need to see the same snapshot four times over.
However, The Code certainly is worth watching if you have the slightest interest in maths, physics or even IT. All of its themes underpin the technology which make modern life possible. There aren't many programmes which explain how to predict a lunar eclipse or how to catch a serial killer, and then neatly segue into a scene inside Chartres cathedral. Some of the filming is fun, too -- the railway sequence, for instance - and du Sautoy is an admirable tutor; affable and enthusiastic, and never patronising.
I suspect that The Code would be infuriating if you were a practising mathematician yourself. But for the woman in the street it provided interesting insights into what maths is really *for*. It's a far cry from the dry, dull presentations of yesteryear which made maths impenetrable and unappealing. Hopefully, it should encourage some viewers to take the next step and start learning how to manipulate numbers themselves...