In the movie Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows the sleuth’s arch-enemy has a new weapon: mathematics supplied by a team from Oxford University.
Alain Goriely and Derek Molton at Oxford’s Mathematical Institute were initially asked by the film’s creators to come up with 19th Century equations to fill Moriarty’s blackboard for one scene.
‘Although they were quite secretive about the story, they told us that Moriarty was a mathematics professor and that they wanted us to help them add more meat to the script,’ Alain told New Scientist ’s Jessica Hamzelou.
In the end, as the article reports, they ended up going on to invent a secret code that Moriarty uses in the film to send messages aimed at tipping Europe into war.
They based the code on hints by Arthur Conan Doyle that Moriarty wrote books on binomial theorem and asteroids: ‘Binomial theorem is linked to Pascal’s triangle, so we devised a secret code based on that,’ Alain comments to Jessica.