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“The equation of her life”: mathematician

“The equation of her life”: mathematician

Have you ever heard of Goldbach's conjecture? It was named after the Prussian mathematician Christian Goldbach, who was born in Königsberg at the end of the 17th century. To this day, this conjecture contains an unproven statement in number theory and is one of the most famous unsolved problems in mathematics.

Female nerd

Goldbach's conjecture is: “Any even number greater than 2 is the sum of two prime numbers.” Prime numbers are those numbers that can only be divided by 1 and themselves, i.e. 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, and so on. So let's take a short break and you can start doing the math. No, of course not, we're actually asking ourselves the question of how Goldbach's conjecture could be turned into a two-hour feature film.

At the heart of “The Equation of Her Life” stands doctoral student Marguerite, a mathematical genius, but otherwise – in keeping with her film persona – the young woman is a bit of an outsider: she walks around the elite Parisian university ENS in slippers. Female nerds are a rarity in cinema.

Genius makes mistakes

Her professor encouraged Margaret to solve Goldbach's conjecture. The young woman, who had been working on her thesis entitled “Arithmetic Sequences in Finite Sets of Integers” for three years, was pointed out in a seminar for an error in her argument. Quite straightforward: “The Equation of Your Life” is also worth a watch for people who have little or no interest in mathematics. When is there a light-hearted comedy that offers deep insights into the still male-oriented scientific world? Margaret's doctoral supervisor withdraws after the hearing.

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The film develops in a predictable and not boring way: a frustrated Margaret first retreats from her doctoral thesis and takes some time off. It moves to the 13th arrondissement of Paris, a multicultural area, and in parts also the city's Chinatown – an incredibly lively area. A former doctoral student makes ends meet through odd jobs, has a flirtatious roommate, and is already discovering life in all its possibilities.

Director Anna Novion narrates this with the camera always close to leading actress Ella Rumpf. She always knows how to turn the story in a way that leaves the viewer surprised, for example when Margaret suddenly becomes the Mahjong queen of her region. Your mathematical talent helps you. Conclusion: This film does not have a happy ending – it cannot be revealed here whether Goldbach's conjecture is solved or not.