MARCUS DU SAUTOY
THE MATHS PROFESSOR AND TV PRESENTER SUMS UP HIS GENRE FAVES
Favourite SF/fantasy film
There are a few SF movies that use maths. How’s an alien culture going to communicate with humans? I think it’s mathematics which would be the common language. So one of the movies I’ve really loved is Contact. You have Ellie Arroway at SETI listening to white noise, then suddenly these prime numbers start coming through – that’s the beginning of the realisation that there must be an intelligent culture out there.
Favourite SF/fantasy TV
I was a big fan of Thunderbirds. And I am, along with the rest of the world, a big Game Of Thrones fan. There’s also Black Mirror – that can be really relevant to understanding the power of the technology we’re creating and where it might take us.
Favourite SF/fantasy books
The book I chose on Desert Island Discs has been very significant for me – Hermann Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game. It’s about a futuristic game where players try and fuse together the ideas of mathematics, philosophy, music, art, science, history… I think in a sense I’ve been trying to play the glass bead game, to find a way to connect mathematics with other disciplines.
Favourite SF/fantasy games
I did a bit of Dungeons & Dragons as a kid. I like that element of strategy, because that’s very much like being a mathematician looking many steps ahead.