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Working for the FBI, a mathematician uses equations to help solve various crimes.
Alan Eppes: Old man? Charlie Eppes: I use it strictly as a term of endearment, Father. Alan Eppes: Well, get ready, my little boy, 'cause this old man is gonna kick your ass. Charlie Eppes: What are ya gonna do? You gonna cheat again? Alan Eppes: I'm getting the Scrabble board. [Alan walks away and Charlie has a terrified look on his face] Charlie Eppes: Uh. uh... Th... Scrabble's missing a piece!
Charlie Eppes: Don't call me Chuck. Don Eppes: What if I called you 'chuckie'? Charlie Eppes: What if I called you 'Donald'? Don Eppes: What if I called you 'nerd'?
Don Eppes: [picks up paper airplane off floor] Who made this? Charlie Eppes: Me. Why? Don Eppes: Well, wings are a little thin here, buddy. Dr. Larry Fleinhardt: Hey, wait, wait, let me see this. Charlie Eppes: Forgive me if all my years of advanced applied mathematics take issue with that assessment. Don Eppes: Yeah, well, you'll forgive me if all my years of high school detention say I'm right.
Don Eppes: So, about your dream? Charlie Eppes: Dad got shot. It was during a holdup, at the deli. It was... pretty upsetting. Don Eppes: Yeah, I'm sure... Charlie Eppes: And... mom made pancakes. Don Eppes: [pauses] Pancakes? Charlie Eppes: [shrugs] I don't even dream normal...
Alan Eppes: Ah, I'm just a little nervous. Terry Lake: Don't worry-everything looks wonderful. In fact, your son could learn a few things from you. Know where we went on our first date? Don Eppes: All right, all right, all right, all right. Terry Lake: The laundromat. Dinner was pizza. Don Eppes: A little professionalism... Alan Eppes: You don't say... How interesting.
Colby Granger: You assaulted a federal agent with a deadly weapon. Henry Korfelt: It was a Volkswagen.
Colby Granger: Colonel in Special Ops said he was the bastard son of Clint Eastwood and Yoda.
Don Eppes: I guess I was inspired by Mr. Heisenberg, just like Charlie here suggested. Alan Eppes: Heisenberg? What do you mean, the physicist? Don Eppes: Yeah. Alan Eppes: Oh. Your brother goes into a dangerous confrontation with heavily armed felons, and you prepare him with a lecture on the movement of subatomic particles? Charlie Eppes: Yep. It worked, didn't it?
Don Eppes: So what does all your behavioral science training tell you about a grown man who still lives with his mother? Megan Reeves: Probably about the same as two brothers still mooching meals at their dad's house three nights a week.
Don Eppes: Look, please don't do this. Charlie Eppes: Don't do what, Don? Go ahead. Go ahead and try to tell me what it is that I'm doing. You don't even know what it is I'm doing. Don Eppes: Actually, I do. The thing is, I don't think you do. Dr. Larry Fleinhardt: Okay, I'm going to go contemplate the koi pond. Don Eppes: Charlie, look, you helped us find these guys once before. You can do it again. Come on. Charlie Eppes: Why, so you can get shot again? Don Eppes: No, buddy, look. Understand, I appreciate you care about me, but it's not going to happen. Charlie Eppes: Statistically, you're dead now. You understand what that means? A man aimed a gun at your head and fired. The fact that you survived is an anomaly, and it's unlikely to be the outcome of a second such encounter.
Charlie Eppes: [Larry has been waxing philosophical] Is that the kind of stuff you talk about with Megan at lunch? Don Eppes: [Don and Dad are surprised; Larry looks at Charlie, who grins mischievously] Wait, ho-ho-hold on. You and Megan went out to lunch? Alan Eppes: Oh, please tell me you ordered something other than white food. [the Eppes men laugh] Dr. Larry Fleinhardt: [trying to maintain some dignity] This was a meal shared by two inquisitive minds in an intellectual pursuit. Charlie Eppes: [grinning bigger] Of course it was, like all your lunches with David. Oh, and with Colby. Dr. Larry Fleinhardt: [matter-of-factly] A gamma ray burst will release more energy in ten seconds than the sun will emit in its entire ten-billion-year lifespan. Don Eppes: I got it, what's the Hulk's real name? Charlie Eppes: Um, Bruce Banner. Don Eppes: That's right. I mean, didn't gamma rays turn him into the Hulk? Dr. Larry Fleinhardt: [still matter-of-factly] They come from the furthest ends of the universe, and after 45 years, we're still uncertain of their origin. [turns to leave] Alan Eppes: And? Dr. Larry Fleinhardt: [pointedly matter-of-fact] And we're closer to an answer on *that* than the three of you are ever going to get on *this*. [smirks slightly, and closes the door behind him]
Charlie Eppes: What are you doing here? Don Eppes: Hey. Well, I'm ready to party like it's 1899.
Charlie Eppes: Hey, hey, don't get all Fleinhart on me. It's just the Physics Department paper airplane contest. Dr. Larry Fleinhardt: Fl-Fleinhart? Since when did my last name become a predicate adjective? Charlie Eppes: Since your students started using it that way.
Charlie Eppes: Why do they want pictures of us? Don Eppes: Just... "Calls back" He's a famous mathematician! Charlie Eppes: Don't do that. Don Eppes: Hey, get your vogue on, Charlie.
Alan Eppes: Aren't you going to introduce me to your girlfriend? Charlie Eppes: You've met her before, she's not my girlfriend, I'm her thesis advisor. Alan Eppes: Does that mean she can't be your girlfriend? Charlie Eppes: It's, uh, it's against the rules. Alan Eppes: Well, screw the rules. What's more important, learning or love? Well, I'm sure there's no rule against the father of her thesis advisor asking her out. Charlie Eppes: Go for it, go right ahead, be my guest. Amita Ramanujan: Thank you. Actually, I'm spoken for, Mr. Eppes. Alan Eppes: Oh, really? Amita Ramanujan: Back in Madras, my parents arranged for marriage to a family friend, a nice Hindu banker from Goa. Charlie Eppes: Really? Getting married? Amita Ramanujan: God, no, he's a total ass. Alan Eppes: Oh. Charlie Eppes: Dad, you're, like, hovering over us, and we have so much work to do. Alan Eppes: I thought you already helped your brother out on this case. Charlie Eppes: Something this complex needed to be checked and rechecked. Alan Eppes: There's one thing you and your brother have in common: On some things, you're both very thorough; other stuff, you completely miss.
Alan Eppes: Yeah, yeah, sure. I need you to come to dinner... at the house, on Wednesday. I have a date. Don Eppes: Oh yeah? A date? Hey, well, that's good. With who? Alan Eppes: Well, it's someone Art knows from yoga. Yeah, her name's Jill. He says she's smart, she's funny, and, uh, quite flexible. So, I, I, eh, I, wh-, we're having dinner at the house, and I would like you to be there. Don Eppes: Hey, look, hey. No. Just take her somewhere low-key, you'll do fine. Alan Eppes: Look, it's my first date in over thirty-five years; I would like memorable instead of low-key. Don Eppes: Low-key and memorable aren't mutually exclusive. You know what my favorite date ever was? Pepperoni pizza at a laundromat. Alan Eppes: Yes, which explains the conspicuous absence of grandchildren. So, Wednesday, 7:30. Bring a date?
Charlie Eppes: When we're working together, we talk and we laugh, and there's? an energy. And I don't understand why that doesn't work outside the office. Why don't we have anything else to talk about? Dr. Larry Fleinhardt: You know, you're making an underlying assumption here that I question. Charlie Eppes: What's that? Dr. Larry Fleinhardt: That there's something else you have to talk about. See, when you see two people unable to talk about politics or movies... Charlie Eppes: Hey, movies, I - I can - I can talk about - I just saw the penguin movie. Dr. Larry Fleinhardt: I see two extraordinary minds that can communicate on the purest level a man and woman can interface on. [pauses to think] Dr. Larry Fleinhardt: Okay, second purest. Charlie Eppes: Geek love. Dr. Larry Fleinhardt: Hey, no better kind.
Alan Eppes: You know, Don and Charlie, they graduated high school on the same day. Terry Lake: Thank you. Don's mentioned it. A few times. Alan Eppes: Kind of puts an edge on that sibling rivalry thing, you know. Terry Lake: I'm sure it does. Having a kid like Charlie had to put some unusual pressure on the family. How old was he when you first realized he was exceptional? Alan Eppes: He was three when he multiplied four-digit numbers in his head. By the age of four, he needed special teachers, special classes. My wife - I mean, his mother and I, we put a lot of time into his education. It was Don who was the one who had to get used to taking care of himself. Terry Lake: Well, he might have gotten used to it, but I'm not sure he's as good at it as he thinks he is. Alan Eppes: Well, it's hard for him to ask anyone for help. And it's really hard for him to ask Charlie.
Don Eppes: Hey, Dad. What are you doing here? Alan Eppes: Well, I-I like coming whenever Charlie gives one of these math-for-dummies lectures. It's the only time I actually understand what he's talking about.
[repeated line] Don Eppes: Three, two, one; execute!
Security Guard: Excuse me? What're you doing? Charlie Eppes: Simple experiment. It's a pendulum. Security Guard: Sir, you and the pendulum need to leave. Charlie Eppes: Okay. It drew an ellipse.
Charlie Eppes: You know, this isn't the first time I've received a love letter. When I published my first article in the American Journal of Mathematics I was invited to spend the weekend at a bed and breakfast in Santa Barbara. Dr. Larry Fleinhardt: Yeah? Did you go? Charlie Eppes: Ah, I was fourteen. My mother had to break the news to a very embarrassed female professor at Berkley.
Don Eppes: Dad, sorry, we gotta go. Alan Eppes: Sure, right. Couldn't get any worse. Don Eppes: Listen: alcohol. Lots of alcohol. Alan Eppes: For who?
Dr. Larry Fleinhardt: In twenty years of teaching, I have never received evaluation comments like these. Boring - me! Intellectually, uh, inaccessible. Charlie Eppes: I thought we came up on this hike to get your mind off this ridiculous thing. Dr. Larry Fleinhardt: I mean, one-one student even said I'm out of touch in cutting-edge thinking in multidimensional theory. That one alone kept me up at night. Charlie Eppes: Everybody gets bad evaluations now and then, come on. Dr. Larry Fleinhardt: Yeah, yeah, says the professor who never received less than a rave. Charlie Eppes: As with any large group, there are responses that cover the entire spectrum. I once had a girl in my combinatorics seminar tell me that I was disorganized and I taught too fast. Dr. Larry Fleinhardt: That's an accurate observation, actually.
Charlie Eppes: Larry, something went wrong, and I don't know what, and now it's like I can't even think. Dr. Larry Fleinhardt: Well, let me guess: you tried to solve a problem involving human behavior, and it blew up in your face. Charlie Eppes: Yeah, pretty much. Dr. Larry Fleinhardt: Okay, well, Charles, you are a mathematician, you're always looking for the elegant solution. Human behavior is rarely, if ever, elegant. The universe is full of these odd bumps and twists. You know, perhaps you need to make your equation less elegant, more complicated; less precise, more descriptive. It's not going to be as pretty, but it might work a little bit better. Charlie, when you're working on human problems, there's going to be pain and disappointment. You gotta ask yourself, is it worth it?
Charlie Eppes: It's from someone who says she's a fan of my work on low dimensional topology. And she's a fan of my... hair.
Amita Ramanujan: Charlie, where did you learn all this stuff about assassination? Charlie Eppes: If I told you that I'd have to kill you. Amita Ramanujan: Okay, seriously. Charlie Eppes: Seriously.
[Charlie and Alan are golfing and Charlie tries to hit the ball, but misses] Alan Eppes: That was better. Charlie Eppes: What? Alan Eppes: It was! You almost hit the ball. Charlie Eppes: You know, I'm the king at basketball, I-I-I can snowboard, I'm the best at video games, I'm even getting over my fear of rock climbing. But I still, I can't hit this little white ball.
Charlie Eppes: Guy was a pompous ass.
Charlie Eppes: Please, understand, sometimes I can't choose what I work on. I can't follow through on a line of thinking just because I want to, or, or because it's needed. I have to work on what's in my head. And right now, this is what's in my head.
Dr. Larry Fleinhardt: You know, here's a discussion: Why is it that we remember the past and not the future? Charlie Eppes: That's a tough one, Larry.
Charlie Eppes: Everything is numbers.
Charlie Eppes: There's something else that has to be considered. Don Eppes: Like what? Charlie Eppes: Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. Heisenberg noted that the act of observation will effect the observed; in other words, when you watch something, you change it, and uh, uh, for example, an electron, you know, you can't really measure it without bumping into it in some small way. Any physical act of observation requires interaction with a form of energy, like light, and that will change the nature of the electron, its path of travel. Don Eppes: Hold on. You know I got, like, a C in physics, so just take me through how this relates to the case. Charlie Eppes: Don, you've observed the robbers. They know it. That will change their actions.
Dr. Larry Fleinhardt: You know that it's considered unsolvable? Charlie Eppes: Well, certainly people who have failed to solve it might think that.
[Charlie connects the computer game Minesweeper to the bank robberies] Charlie Eppes: You see this game, Larry? You've got to clear the mines without blowing any up. Each time you clear a square, a numerical value is revealed. That number tells you exactly how many squares containing mines are directly adjacent to that square. This allows you to predict where the next mine will be located and then the more boxes revealed the more accurately one can predict the location of the mines. The pattern used in these bank robberies is similar to this kind of problem-solving pattern. These robbers have used the banks they've been robbing to tell them which ones to rob next.
Alan Eppes: Checkmate. Don Eppes: Checkmate. Charlie Eppes: Oh, yeah, I see. You guys are ganging up on me, huh? You did that on purpose, that little distraction thing.
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