What's Worth Watching: NOVA Wonders Where Math Came From

Oriana Schwindt
John Davis/PBS


NOVA, "The Great Math Mystery" (Wednesday, April 15, 9/8c, PBS)

Depending on your educational bent, you may or may not have been a Math Kid in school. If not, you might have wondered the point of radians and derivatives, and in times of algebraic crisis, who the hell even thought this stuff up in the first place (and was it some kind of torture device?). Tonight's installment of the venerable documentary series tries to settle the argument over whether: a) thinkers like Pythagoras discovered natural numeric laws already in existence, or b) math is the method mankind invented to ascribe sense to the chaotic universe.