Terry Jones hosts this documentary on the number one. It looks at early evidence of counting, the use of numbers for simple arithmetic in Sumeria, the development of large numbers and their... See full summary »
Terry Jones hosts this documentary on the number one. It looks at early evidence of counting, the use of numbers for simple arithmetic in Sumeria, the development of large numbers and their use for engineering in Egypt, the worship of numbers by Pythagoras and the theoretical mathematics of the Archimedes. It also looks at the use of numbers by the Romans, the development of Arabic numerals in India, the discovery of the number zero, the development of algebra in the Islamic world, the decline of Roman numerals in the west, and the development of the binary system. Written by
Some of the very best documentaries of the last decade or so have been made by Terry Jones--yes the same Terry Jones who was on "Monty Python's Flying Circus". However, don't expect this and his other films to be strictly comedies (though they have a lighthearted and occasionally funny spirit)--they are intellectually stimulating, very well made and wonderful in their own right. His films on the Crusades, Barbarians and Medieval Lives are terrific--and this is why I chose to see this film about the number 1.
"The Story of 1" is an interesting film--just the sort of thing you might want to show to high school math students to teach them about the history of mathematics and counting. The show is like a history lesson and goes from the earliest time in Sumeria to the present time. Topics covered in this show are how city life necessitated counting and arithmetic, that some Aboriginals DON'T have numbers at all in their culture, the cubit and temple building, Pythagoras, imaginary numbers, Roman numerals that can't cut it and how India solved these problems, abacus versus numerals and the binary system. It's all told in as interesting a manner as you can use (considering the topic) and cute little CGI animations as well as Jones' script breath a lot of life into material most would assume MUST be boring. Well worth seeing.
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