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The Frontier Café – Conversation with George Csicsery

“Bringing mathematics to nonmathematical audiences.”

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In this episode of the Frontier Café, Michael Pardy hosts a discussion with SEEFest Jury alum, writer, and prolific filmmaker George Csicsery. Csicsery and his production company, Zala Films are based in Oakland, California.

In this wide-ranging discussion, George talks about his journey from an undergrad majoring in comparative religion to his life’s work as a journalist and filmmaker and the inherent challenges and rewards in making and financing his films.  He also discusses some of his latest projects, including the remarkably poignant Secrets of the Surface: The Mathematical Vision of Maryam Mirzakhani (2020) and his still-in-production, Journeys of Black Mathematicians. 

The interview is also available on YouTube.

About the Guest

GEORGE PAUL CSICSERY, a writer and independent filmmaker, has produced 35 documentaries on historical, ethnographic, and cultural subjects, including “Where the Heart Roams” (1987), “Hungry for Monsters” (2003), “Troop 214” (2008). “The Thursday Club” (2005), and “Songs Along A Stony Road” (2011).  

He is best known for his films on mathematical topics, including N is a Number: A Portrait of Paul Erdős (1993), Julia Robinson and Hilbert’s Tenth Problem, (2008), Hard Problems: The Road to the World’s Toughest Math Contest (2008), Taking the Long View: The Life of Shiing-shen Chern (2011), Counting from Infinity (2015), Navajo Math Circles (2016), and Secrets of the Surface: The Mathematical Vision of Maryam Mirzakhani (2020). In 2009 he received the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM) Communications Award for “bringing mathematics to nonmathematical audiences.” In 2017-2019 he was Presidential Fellow at Chapman University.

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