# What’s in a blackboard? On mathematical authenticity in movies and TV.

Dear producers and directors,

For $100 per scene, I will verify the authenticity of all mathematical lines, props, documents, and boardwork used in that scene. In the event that said math is inauthentic, I will suggest an authentic replacement.

Your friendly neighborhood mathematician,

Jeremy Kun

A lack of authenticity can ruin a tense mood and make a group of supposed experts seem like fools. Designers go through great pains to make costumes or a set authentically French or authentically 1920’s, to avoid anachronisms, and to use contemporary idiom. Medical television shows are applauded by my medical school and resident friends for their accurate jargon. But when it comes to anything mathematical, despite it sometimes being crucial to the plot or characters or setting, television shows and movies hardly seem to try to get it right.

It used to be this way with technology, causing...