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Proof?! (a polyhedral screenplay)

by Dan Radin

“Proof?!” is a play adapted from the book, “Proofs and Refutations: The Logic of Mathematical Discovery,” by Imre Lakatos.  The setting is a classroom.  Students and teacher are attempting to prove Euler’s theorem of polyhedra.  As they get deeper and deeper into this task, they find more questions than answers.  The more they learn, the more they realize how little they know.  They begin to question basic concepts such as the definition of “proof” and the very definition of “definition”.  They debate the philosophical underpinning of mathematics itself.  Does mathematics come from the human mind or was it already out there waiting to be discovered?  How can we be sure there is any real order inherent in the Universe?  Where does mathematical progress come from?  Logical deduction?  Observation?  Inspiration?


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