Mathematics Meets Cinema: La Figure de la Terre

Osmo Pekonen and Axel Straschnoy
Proceedings of Bridges 2016: Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture, Education, Culture (2016)
Pages 461–464


The French mathematician and explorer Pierre Louis Moreau de Maupertuis (1698–1759) travelled to Finnish Lapland in 1736–1737 to measure the shape of the Earth. He wrote the book La Figure de la Terre which has recently been turned into a movie with the same title. The screenings of the movie in various countries (Finland, France, Argentina), accompanied with scholarly lectures, books and papers, have created an interesting bridge between mathematics and the seventh art. For the present paper, the Argentinian director Axel Straschnoy (AS) interviewed Osmo Pekonen (OP), a Finnish mathematician who besides being a scholarly expert on Maupertuis also played the lead role – in French. His double performance thus testifies of a double competence in Science and Art.