Last Saturday evening, in Wolfensohn Hall at the Institute for Advanced Study, was held the first semi-staged reading of the mathematical screenplay “MSI: Anatomy”, written by Jennifer Granville and her brother Andrew Granville (with original music by R. Schneider and stage design by M. Spencer).

I won’t even try here to summarize or describe the story (but I will say that it was a great success), being no media critic and hardly an expert on mathematical detective fiction (a proper review by V. Miller will appear, I am told, in the Notices of the AMS), but I am happy to mention that most of the mathematics discussed can also be found in Granville’s very entertaining survey on analogies between integers and permutations. I am also told that efforts to present the story to a wider audience are in progress…

Here is the poster:

And here is a picture taken by C.J. Mozzochi at the beginning of the performance; the blackboards, besides pictures of cheese, include excerpts of excellent mathematics, some of which faithffully reproduced from B. Green’s lecture (given two days before) on his work with T. Tao and T. Ziegler on the inverse conjecture for Gowers norms:

(I apologize for not including the name of the fine actors involved: I have misplaced my copy of the programme, where they are listed, but I will update the post once it is found again — such a simple act of detection should be within my feeble means…)

Andrew Granville’s paper ‘The anatomy of integers and permutations’ is very interesting. But is there, in some sense, also behavior of the primes which is very different form the behavior of permutations?