Julia Robinson and Hilbert's Tenth Problem

Production Team

GEORGE PAUL CSICSERY (Producer/Director) Csicsery has directed 23 films—dramatic shorts, performance films and documentaries, including N is a Number: A Portrait of Paul Erdös (1993), a one-hour documentary about the renowned wandering mathematician. Invitation to Discover (2002), porridge pulleys and Pi (2004), and The Right Spin (2005) were made for the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute. Csicsery produced, directed, and edited Where the Heart Roams (1987), a widely distributed feature documentary about romance writers and their fans, and Hungry for Monsters (2003), a feature documentary about recovered memories and false accusations and The Thursday Club (2005), a documentary about retired policemen involved in quelling of antiwar riots in the 1960s. The Right Spin (2005) was a 30-minute DVD about astronaut Michael Foale and saving the Mir space station, produced for Math Awareness Week. He has worked on films by Errol Morris (Gates of Heaven) and Barbet Schroeder (Koko). He began working on Julia Robinson and Hilbert's Tenth Problem in 1998.

CONSTANCE REID: Her books on David Hilbert and other mathematicians (Bell, Courant) are considered outstanding. She is essential to the film as Julia Robinson's sister and the author of her biography, "JULIA, A Life in Mathematics." Constance Reid is at the core of the project as subject, and as the principal source of biographical and historical information. Her participation and contributions of photographic and audio materials, and documents were indispensable.

CHARLES L. SILVER (Writer/Researcher) A student of Julia Robinson and Alfred Tarski at UC Berkeley, where he earned his Ph.D. in philosophy, Silver has taught mathematics, computer science, and philosophy at a number of universities. He edited and consulted on several films, among them Gates of Heaven (supervising editor), A Brief History of Time (about the life and the physics of Stephen Hawking), and N is a Number: A Portrait of Paul Erdös. He is the author of "From Symbolic Logic to Mathematical Logic" (1994). His expertise in both the story of Julia Robinson, and documentary film conceptualization combines two areas that have helped to guide the production of the film from his initial suggestion of the topic through its completion.

JOHN SHARAF (Cinematographer) has been a news and documentary cinematographer since 1976. He regularly shoots for all major American television networks, "Nightline," "60 Minutes," "20/20," and CNN. His credits include two Academy award-winning documentaries, Gravity Is My Enemy and Number Our Days.

SKIP SWEENEY (Cinematographer) is founder of Video Free America in San Francisco. He has made numerous films of his own, and has worked as cinematographer and editor for over 35 years.

TAL SKLOOT (Editor) has edited numerous feature films and Emmy winning documentaries. His credits include Orion Pictures, LucasFilm, 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, PBS, KQED, Frontline, Pulse Films, Zala Films, DLB Films and The National Endowment For The Arts. Tal is a graduate of the American Film Institute and an adjunct faculty member at the Diablo Valley College film department.

DANICA MCKELLAR (Narrator) is best known as "Winnie Cooper" from The Wonder Years and "Elsie Snuffin" on The West Wing. In August 2007, Danica was named "Person of the Week" by ABC World News with Charles Gibson for her latest role: author of her bestselling book "MATH DOESN'T SUCK: How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail." Prior to the book, this summa cum laude graduate of UCLA earned a degree in Mathematics and a place in Britain's esteemed Journal of Physics and the New York Times for her work on a mathematical physics problem which now bears her name (The Chayes-McKellar-Winn Theorem). Danica's deep love of mathematics, her respect for Julia Robinson, and her desire to provide role modeling for girls inspired her to take part in this documentary project.

MARK ADLER (Composer) Mark's feature film scores include Paramount Classics' "Focus," the Miramax film "Picture Bride," the Wayne Wang films "Eat A Bowl of Tea" and "Life Is Cheap," numerous National Geographic Specials, and three Oscar-nominated feature documentaries. In 1999 he won a Primetime Emmy for his work on HBO's "The Rat Pack." Other TV movie scores include Hallmark Entertainment's "Forbidden Territory: Stanley's Search for Livingstone," starring Aidan Quinn and Nigel Hawthorne (for which he received a 1998 Primetime Emmy nomination), "Flowers For Algernon" starring Mathew Modine, and two Hallmark Hall of Fame productions. In 2000 he composed the new theme for the long-running PBS series, "American Experience." He also wrote and produced source music for the Philip Kaufman films "The Unbearable Lightness of Being," and "Henry and June," and was involved as a producer in the recreation of indigenous Brazilian music for the Saul Zaentz production "At Play in the Fields of the Lord." He composed original music for "The Road To Memphis," directed by Richard Pearce as part of the Martin Scorsese-produced series, "The Blues." This range of experience has resulted in an eclectic musical style, often drawing on jazz, folk, world music, and traditional orchestral idioms. He is also a member of the Music Peer Group Executive Committee of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, where he currently serves on the National Awards Committee.

ANDREA HALE (Animation/Assistant Editor) graduated from San Francisco State University's Department of Cinema in 2007. She has produced several animated shorts independently.

Mathematicians & Historians

LENORE BLUM is well known for her work in increasing the participation of girls and women in mathematics, and was instrumental in founding the Association for Women in Mathematics, serving as its President from 1975 to 1978. She has worked in model theory and differential fields (logic and algebra) and in developing a theory of computation and complexity over the real numbers (mathematics and computer science). She is co-author of "Complexity and Real Computation," with F. Cucker, M. Shub, S. Smale (1997). She is currently at Carnegie Mellon University. Among the most important women in American mathematics today, Lenore Blum has addressed Robinson's significance for women in mathematics.

MARTIN DAVIS is best known for his pioneering work in automated deduction and his contributions to the solution of H10. His book "Computability and Unsolvability" has been called "one of the few real classics in computer science." Another key subject, Martin Davis is one of the four people who worked hardest on H10.

KIRSTEN EISENTRÄGER is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Pennsylvania State University. Her research interests are in number theory and arithmetic geometry. One direction of her research focuses on questions of decidability and undecidability in number theory, and she has worked on generalizations of Hilbert's tenth problem.

STEVEN GIVANT is chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Mills College. He worked with Alfred Tarski (one of Julia Robinson's teachers) on research in logic and the foundations of mathematics, and has specialized in designing ways to motivate and prepare undergraduate women for graduate school in the mathematical sciences. Givant is an inspiring teacher with a gift for translating difficult concepts to students in the classroom. His knowledge of the protagonists in the story, and of the mathematical concepts involved, makes him the ideal person to deliver the materials verbally on camera.

ANITA BURDMAN FEFERMAN, a biographer of mathematicians, is the author of a biography of Alfred Tarski. Her insights on Tarski, and on the Robinsons, provide a valuable non-mathematical human perspective in the film.

SOLOMON FEFERMAN, an expert on mathematical logic and the foundations of mathematics, theoretical computer science, philosophy of mathematics and the history of twentieth-century logic, is Professor of Mathematics and Philosophy at Stanford University. He is also Julia Robinson's scientific biographer. He was interviewed on the significance of Robinson's work, her relationship to Alfred Tarski, and other important aspects of the story.

YURI MATIYASEVICH solved Hilbert's tenth problem. He is Director of the Laboratory of Mathematical Logic at the Steklov Institute of Mathematics, St. Petersburg, Director of the Euler Institute for Mathematics, and Professor (on leave) of Computer Software at the St. Petersburg State University in Russia. A central character in the story, Matiyasevich is a key subject, and has donated rare footage and photographs to the project, including the only known images of Julia Robinson on film.

BJORN POONEN is Professor of Mathematics and a Vice Chair for Undergraduate Affairs at the University of California at Berkeley. He is one of the new generation of researchers actively working to extend the results on H10 to rings other than the ring of integers, using modern methods from number theory and algebraic geometry.

HILARY PUTNAM, Cogan University Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Harvard University, worked on Hilbert's tenth problem with Martin Davis and Julia Robinson. Putnam co-wrote with Julia Robinson about H10, and shares the story of his own long involvement with the problem.

DANA SCOTT, Professor Emeritus of Computer Science, Mathematical Logic, and Philosophy at Carnegie Mellon University, was an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley, 1950-1954. There he came under the influence of the Tarski School and was a close friend of Julia and her husband until their deaths. He is a fellow of the Academia Europea, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Association for Computing Machinery, British Academy, Finnish Academy of Sciences and Letters, New York Academy of Sciences, and U.S. National Academy of Sciences.


George Paul Csicsery
Zala Films
PO Box 22833, Oakland, CA 94609 USA
Tel: +1 510 428-9284 / Fax: +1 510 428-9273
Email: geocsi@zalafilms.com

© 2004- George Csicsery