Newswise — It's time to see the summer blockbusters. But regardless of whether you want to see Spider-Man battle Doc Ock, watch Will Smith take on an army of robots, or get scared out of your socks from M. Night Shyamalan's The Village, there's always the problem of where to sit in the theatre without getting a sore neck or eyestrain.
Don't fret! Tom Berry has come to your rescue!
"If you can give me some hard numbers for dimensions and distances, I can calculate the exact spot that is best for viewing a movie," he says. "It's not always halfway back, in the centre."
Berry, a mathematics prof at the University of Manitoba in Canada, is always looking for ways to show students how math can be used to solve everyday problems. He uses the problem of finding the seats with the best views in a movie house to show high school students how math can be the answer. Students say his math classes are not only educational, but fun.
He uses calculus and high-level geometry, filling blackboards with numerous equations. Berry can calculate the best line of sight to the top, bottom, and both sides of the screen, taking into account things like the height of the screen, the height of the wall between the floor and the bottom of the screen and the slope of the floor of the seating area.
"It's not the kind of calculations you can do easily or in a hurry," Berry explains, "but it does show that math can be applied in all aspects of life. It's really just first-year calculus, and not all that complicated."