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DVD Review: The Code (2011)

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My parents told me that when I was little, my favorite word was “why?” Why did that happen? Why did they do that? Why does it do that? You get the idea.

I had a million questions about why things and people did or did not do what they did. Even though I’m an adult now, I still have a million questions about why things are the way they are. Sometimes I drive my husband crazy asking him why something works the way it does. Thankfully, he has one of those very analytic minds and explains things well. That quality probably explains why I enjoy watching documentaries so much. I love to learn new things and explore new ways of looking at things especially when the topic is one I don’t know a lot about.

The Code debuts on DVD from Athena June 19. The Code is the follow up to the documentary, The Story of Math. The new film was broadcast originally on BBC2 in July 2011, and is now available in the U.S. for the first time. The two-volume boxed set includes three different episodes:  “Numbers,” “Shapes,” and “Prediction.”  

There are also three math-oriented shorts: “Phi’s the Limit” (4 minutes), “Go Forth and Multiply” (4 minutes), and “Imagining the Impossible: The Mathematical Art of MC Escher” (4 minutes). Also included is a 12-page viewer’s guide. Marcus du Sautoy travels from Chartres Cathedral to Grand Central station in search of answers that may unlock the laws of the universe.

This program will truly open your eyes. The connections that du Sautoy suggests are honestly ones I had never before considered.

Episode 1 – “Numbers” delves into the connection between the proportions of the Chartres Cathedral and the life cycle of the cicada, how we hear sound and the shell of the nautilus. Du Sautoy believes that the creators of the ancient cathedrals had a unique understanding of God’s creation and how it was tied to numbers and the power of pi.

Episode 2 – “Shapes” takes you to Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland and explains how a local giant helped create this formation. Du Sautoy explains a hidden truth discovered that explains everything from honeycombs to virtual worlds of Pixar movies!

Episode 3 – “Prediction” is by far my favorite episode. If you’re a bit of a conspiracy theorist or into predicting the future, you’ll definitely find this one fascinating. Professor du Sautoy takes a look at how patterns of behavior of migratory birds and even serial killers are all tied into the code of chaos – often referred to as the butterfly effect.

If you enjoy learning about the mysteries of the world, you’ll want to check this DVD out. Yes, there’s a bit of math tossed in here to understand the basic concepts but the program is definitely enjoyable to those of us who aren’t math scholars. The movie will answer your questions about why things happen the way they do in a way that is both interesting and fun to watch.

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About Ellen Christian

Ellen is a busy mom of two teenagers who left the corporate world in 2008 to focus on a more eco-friendly life. She lives in rural Vermont where she juggles family, two blogs and a career in social media. You can find her at and