Charlie Eppes: Everything is numbers. 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? Dr. Larry Fleinhardt: You know that it's considered unsolvable? Charlie Eppes: Well, certainly people who have failed to solve it might think that. 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: 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. Alan Eppes: Aren't you going to introduce me to your girlfriend?
: 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. 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. 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? 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.