Attended talk by Gary Lorden, Caltech consultant to the TV program NUMB3RS


On October 4, 2008, Professor of Mathematics Gary Lorden talked about the TV program NUMB3RS with members of the Associates of the California Institute of Technology.

The talk provided insight into some of ‘the untold stories behind NUMB3RS’ and into the production of the program.  The talk included discussion of evidently last-minute decisions (such as whether to call the key academic institution “CalSci” or “Caltech”) and actions (such as avoiding having a character mention 9 as a [supposedly] prime number).  Other discussion featured the creators and creation of the show, actor David Krumholtz‘s desire to have role of ‘smart’ character and his spending time on campus quietly exploring Caltech betore the first episodes were recorded, evolution (since the beginning of the series) of the emphasis on math and science during the conceptualization of plots, Caltech professors’ involvement in adding math and science to scripts, and comparisons between characteristics of professors’ offices (as depicted on the show, contrasted with normal such offices).  Evidently, for example, a ‘real world’ academic office is likely to be somewhat smaller than is indicated via the TV show and is likely not to have a ‘clear whiteboard.’

Later, the Associates sent me a copy of the book The Numbers Behind NUMB3RS: Solving Crime with Mathematics, autographed by co-author Gary Lorden.  (The other author is Keith Devlin of Stanford UniversityI would to thank Prof. Lorden and the Associates.  I look forward to reading the book.

Click for information about Thomas J. Buckholtz.


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