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Mathematics: Dangerous Knowledge (BBC documentary)

In this BBC documentary, David Malone profiles four mathematicians -- Georg Cantor, Ludwig Boltzmann, Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing -- whose genius profoundly informs us, but which tragically drove them mad and eventually led each of them to commit suicide. The film talks to contemporary thinkers, including Greg Chaitin and Roger Penrose, who continue to pursue the question of whether there are things that mathematics and the human mind cannot know.

Cantor, whose work proved to be the foundation for much of 20th-century mathematics, believed he was God's messenger and was made insane by trying to prove his theories of infinity. Boltzmann's struggle to prove the existence of atoms and probability eventually drove him to suicide. Gödel, the introverted confidant of Albert Einstein, proved that there are problems that will always lie outside human logic; his life ended in a sanatorium where he starved himself to death. And Turing, the great Bletchley Park code breaker and the father of computer science, died trying to prove that some things are fundamentally unprovable.

Dangerous Knowledge outlines some of the profound questions about the true nature of reality that mathematical thinkers are still struggling to answer. Google Video, 1 hr 29 min.

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