Tangents and the Intangible

Select some experience from which you have derived exceptional benefit and describe it, explaining its value to you.

One of the most important events in my life was, oddly enough, a calculus project.

The assignment was to make a short film about trigonometry, which made sense given that our teacher was also president of the Movie Club. We had to make a movie and throw some math in so it wouldn’t be completely irrelevant to the class. Not a bad premise for a project, all things considered.

To begin the project, of course, we needed a group. That was easy enough; I had an old friend in the class already, a new friend who had joined the Swim Team with me that year, and another acquaintance who always offered interesting perspectives.

That completed, we needed a script. Several ideas were tossed about, and by popular vote my Mafia film noir idea won out. Math in a Mafia movie? Certainly: the mob boss kills two people and threatens a third murder, making some strange allusion to triangles. Our heroic detective realizes in the nick of time that the murders’ locations, which were, say, 42nd St. and 18th St., are angle measures of a sick Killing Triangle, and with sines and cosines and whatnot he predicts the location of the final murder just in time. Unfortunately, it’s a setup, and everyone dies, but that’s show business.

I wrote the 8-page script one...

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