Dartmouth’s William H. Neukom Institute for Computational Science has announced the winners of its third annual Math-O-Vision competition, a contest for high school student filmmakers celebrating creativity and math.
First prize went to Convergent Trailer—a parody of the 2014 thriller Divergent—in which Tala Shahin imagines a world where a high-stakes test determines your field of mathematical prowess, or casts you out from society. Shahin, 17, attends BASIS Tucson North in Tucson, Ariz.
Tied for second prize: Jon Allen’s Lego Intersection (B), a stop-motion animation parody of the 2015 film Inception, in which a math tutor tries to implant mathematical ideas in students’ minds; and David Hamilton and Ethan Thompson’s Making Waves With Math, an exploration of the mathematics of music.
Allen, 17, attends Orangewood Christian School in Maitland, Fla. Hamilton, 16, attends Cornerstone Academy in Lewisville, N.C. Thompson, 15, is home schooled through Olive Tree Christian Academy in Lewisville, N.C.
Olivia Gordon, 16, of IQ Academy Minnesota, received the Judges Prize for her entry, Is Negative Zero Infinity, a doodle-driven thought experiment about the nature of the number line.
“It has been fun to see a community of students energized around the idea of making movies about mathematics,” says Math-O-Vision’s founder, Daniel Rockmore, who is director of the Neukom Institute and the William H. Neukom 1964 Distinguished Professor of Computational Science.
This year for the first time, winners were chosen by middle school students—about 5,600 of whom signed up with their teachers to view and vote for finalists online. Winners received a total of $7,500 in prize money.
Finalists were selected by a panel of judges that included Rockmore as well as actor Alan Alda; mathematician Alex Bellos; Science Friday host Ira Flatow; Stanford music and computer science professor and app designer Ge Wang; and Lori Loeb, a research professor in Dartmouth’s computer science department and executive director of the Digital Arts Leadership and Innovation (DALI) lab.
“This year, more than any other, contestants pushed boundaries to create original movies exploring their personal visions of mathematics,” says H. Seano Whitecloud, creative director and communications coordinator at the Neukom Institute. “Each year, our quest for creative views of mathematics yields a more and more diverse collection of interesting movies.”
To view the winning entries, visit math-o-vision.com.