Recently I’ve been thinking how mathematics is represented in the media. For instance a positive imagine in the latest film of Sherlock Holmes. Here, Sherlock Holmes challenges his rival , a Professor of Mathematics, in front of a board full of authentic mathematical equations. The film makers were very careful to ensure the mathematics was correct,

The same can not be said of this Little Mix video ( by the way I was never a fan). For instance, this frame of a mathematician in action

What at first looks quite positive, looking at the detail one notices that several of the mathematical expressions are incorrect (E=NC^2). What are you saying Little Mix!!!! Next mistake (a +b) ^2 = a^2 +ab + b^2 !!!!!! The list go on. So Little Mix promoters you put a Black Mathematician (who is underrepresented in the field of mathematics) in front of a mathematical board full of mistakes? Bravo ! Worse still is the response of his students.

Yes that’s right they are asleep, an indication that they find mathematics totally boring! This video belongs to the long list of popular media that has declared war on mathematics. The producers of this video have portrayed a negative image on many levels. Their poor representation of mathematics. Their demeaning of a Black Mathematician and inferring that mathematics is boring. Let me tell you this Simon Cowell, Little Mix and Company, Mathematics is a powerful, interesting and beautiful subject! Next time, get your mathematics right!

Was it not the mathematician Prof Moriarty who tried to outwit Sherlock Holmes in “The Final Problem”? They fell to their deaths together over the Reichenbach falls. I think Conan Doyle dropped a clanger in this tale when referring to Moriarty’s original work on the Binomial theorem!

As Isaac Asimov pointed out somewhere (forget exactly where) Conan Doyle got his chronology wrong when writing this story. The binomial theorem had been completely solved long before Moriarity existed!

Thank you Christopher,

You have taught me something new here.

Great insight and a fine example of mathematics being misunderstood and misquoted.

Nira