Department of Mathematical Sciences

Professor Chris Budd OBE ‘Goes to the Movies’ with Gresham College

30 January 2017

Professor Chris Budd OBE delivered a lecture on the relationship between mathematics and film at the Museum of London earlier this month.

The lecture forms part of the Mathematics and the Making of the Modern and Future World series that Chris is presenting for Gresham College, where he is Professor of Geometry. He is also Professor of Applied Mathematics and Deputy Director of the Institute for Mathematical Innovation at Bath.  

Speaking to Reuters during a Facebook Live interview, Chris describes how maths plays a key role in the creation of some of our best-loved films, for example Pixar’s Toy Story and Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings. He said: “The creative artists use the maths in the software that is produced by these wonderfully creative mathematicians. It’s a collaboration between the mathematician and the animators of the character.”

He goes on to explain how solutions such as sub division algorisms and partial differential equations are used to define a character’s movement or features, as well as allowing animators to create characters that push the boundaries of realism. “Maths allows you to create these fantastic animals which could not otherwise be possible. It’s such an exciting and rapidly evolving field that could go anywhere in the future.”

The Mathematics Goes to the Movies lecture is available to view on the Gresham College website, where there are also details of upcoming lectures in the series.

Watch Chris’ Facebook Live interview with Reuters.