At a special dinner honoring The Man Who Knew Infinity movie, and Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons at Bagatelle in the Meatpacking district this week, the discussion was on how you play a math geek. The answer: you have a secret weapon, a real math geek who can teach you how to scribble those equations effectively on a chalkboard. The man in question, Manjul Bhargava, was honored with a Fields Medal; Neil DeGrasse Tyson, "just your neighborhood astrophysicist," as he describes himself, explained just how impressive the Fields Medal, is. It's like the Nobel Prize.
For those who don't remember this excellent movie when it opened last April, The Man Who Knew Infinity is a biopic about Srinivasa Ramanujan, a math prodigy from Madras, with Dev Patel in the role. The movie emphasizes his relationship with his mentor, G. H. Hardy, a perfect and prim Jeremy Irons. Amazed by his facility with figures, Hardy invites Ramanujan to Cambridge, England where he faced racism, cold, and culture shock, and still managed to move mathematics forward much the way Sir Isaac Newton advanced the laws of physics, finding a formula for partitions that others thought was impossible. Srinivasa Ramanujan was elected Fellow of the Royal Society.
Producer Ed Pressman introduced the celebrants to Matt Brown, who wrote and directed this film, so beautifully shot by longtime Kubrick collaborator Larry Smith. The lovely Devika Bhise, who plays Ramanujan's wife back in India, was also present. Jeremy Irons was looking forward to speaking on a panel at the White House this weekend, followed by a screening of the film. Explaining his new found math skills, Jeremy Irons, so charming and droll with a career that counts 70 or more films, offered the following advice: "Never put your martini down in a crowded restaurant."
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.