Fans of popular movies “Star Wars,” “Avatar,” “The Avengers,” and “Frozen” probably aren’t aware that these movies required the use of mathematics to bring them to life. The Division of Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Guam is inviting the public to take a look behind the movie scenes with visiting mathematician Michael Dorff at its 12th Annual Math Day. 

The free event is open to the public and will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19 at the School of Business and Public Administration building, Room 129. It kicks off with a Mathematics Quiz Competition among 7th to 12th-grade student teams covering basic Algebra, pre-Calculus, and Calculus.  

Dorff's "Math, Movies, and Bubbles," talk follows at 11:45 a.m.

He's a professor of mathematics at Brigham Young University in Utah, with a doctorate in complex analysis and the former president of the Mathematical Association of America, the world’s largest community of mathematicians, students, and enthusiasts. Dorff works to promote math to the general public, industrial careers in the mathematical sciences, and undergraduate research. 

His lecture will give insight into how math was used to create realistic-looking snow in “Frozen” and to make an animated character move faster in “The Incredibles.” 

In the second part of his talk, Dorff will answer the question “What is the shortest path connecting four points?” and provide a hands-on demonstration of how that concept is connected to creating soap bubbles. 

Dorff also is the co-director of the Preparation for Industrial Careers in Mathematical Sciences program through the Mathematical Association of America and is the director of strategy and implementation for Transforming Post-Secondary Education in Mathematics. He founded the Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics at Occidental College in Los Angeles, which has been recognized by the American Mathematical Society as a “Program That Makes a Difference.”