Wild About Math! Making Math fun and accessible


1959 – Donald Duck – Donald in Mathmagic Land

In case you've never seen this classic Math movie, I think you'll enjoy this.

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An SAT math problem with logic, algebra, and inequalities

Inspired by a post at College Confidential.

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An interesting SAT math triangle problem

This is my first foray into making videos on solving interesting SAT problems.

I saw an SAT math problem at College Confidential which essentially says this:

"A triangle has two sides of length 6 and 7. Which of the following could the area of the triangle possibly be?"

And then it gives three choices and ask which of the choices the triangle's area can be.

What do you think? Do you find it helpful?

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Hat tip to io9.com.

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Steven Krantz – Inspired by Math #6

About "A Mathematician Comes of Age:"

A Mathematician Comes of Age discusses the maturation process for a mathematics student. It describes and analyzes how a student develops from a neophyte who can manipulate simple arithmetic problems to a sophisticated thinker who can understand abstract concepts, can think rigorously, and can analyze and manipulate proofs. Most importantly, mature mathematics students can create proofs and know when the proofs that they have created are correct.

Mathematics is distinct from other disciplines in the nature of its intellectual development. The book lays out these differences and discusses their significance.

About "Dr. Krantz:

"Steven G. Krantz is an American mathematician at Washington University in St. Louis. He has also taught at UCLA, Princeton, and Penn State. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Notices of the American Mathematical Society for the period (2010–2015). Krantz is also Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Mathematical Analysis and Applications and Managing Editor and founder of the Journal of Geometric Analysis. He also edits for The American Mathematical Monthly, Complex Variables and Elliptic Equations, and The Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society.

Steven Krantz has published more than 170 scholarly articles and more than 65 books.

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Numberphile channel on Youtube

I just learned about this new Youtube channel.

Numberphile provides viewers a new perspective when it comes to numbers. From Googols and Googolplexs to Root2, this channel offers anyone the “Perfect Number”. Currently, they have a video on the sounds of Pi, here is the link to check it out – http://www.youtube.com/user/numberphile/featured

Here's a nice Numberphile video, very appropriate for Pi Day: "Professor Ed Copeland on a strange occurrence of Pi involving bouncing balls."

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Pi Day Music Video

Another fan letter, this one from Jimmy Pascascio of Music Notes Online. As regular readers know I rarely plug commercial math ventures. I'm making an exception here because I like what these folks are doing. And, it's a great fit for a Pi Day post. Enjoy!

Hello Sol,

I came across your blog and noticed that you recently posted a music video from the BYU Mathletes about Pi. I am a teacher in Los Angeles and, along with a couple colleagues, I have an educational music company that has created a series of math songs and videos. I thought I would pass along our own Pi music video for you to take a look at and possibly share. The link is youtu.be/vG8iARxjHxs Considering Pi Day is upon us, now seems like an appropriate time to have an extra serving of Pi! Keep up the great work on your blog.

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John MacCormick – Inspired by Math #5

About "Nine Algorithms That Changed the Future:
The Ingenious Ideas That Drive Today's Computers

Every day, we use our computers to perform remarkable feats. A simple web search picks out a handful of relevant needles from the world's biggest haystack: the billions of pages on the World Wide Web. Uploading a photo to Facebook transmits millions of pieces of information over numerous error-prone network links, yet somehow a perfect copy of the photo arrives intact. Without even knowing it, we use public-key cryptography to transmit secret information like credit card numbers; and we use digital signatures to verify the identity of the websites we visit. How do our computers perform these tasks with such ease?

This is the first book to answer that question in language anyone can understand, revealing the extraordinary ideas that power our PCs, laptops, and smartphones. Using vivid examples, John MacCormick explains the fundamental "tricks" behind nine types of computer algorithms, including artificial intelligence (where we learn about the "nearest neighbor trick" and "twenty questions trick"), Google's famous PageRank algorithm (which uses the "random surfer trick"), data compression, error correction, and much more.

About John MacCormick:

John MacCormick grew up in New Zealand and spent most of his time sailing, kayaking and windsurfing, although he confesses he never mastered kite boarding.

He initially studied law at the University of Auckland, but after his first term was awarded a scholarship to the University of Cambridge and decided to study mathematics. A friend's computer science project carried out at the University of Oxford inspired MacCormick to pursue a PhD in computer vision at Oxford.

MacCormick recalls writing his own sorting algorithm to print his Latin vocabulary in alphabetical order and, without realising it, stumbled on one of the fundamental ideas in the theory of algorithms - complexity - when the program started to take an inordinately long time to sort the words as they got longer. "Years later, I learned that the algorithm I used is never used in real applications - many well-known sorting algorithms could have dispatched my Latin vocab in a jiffy. If only I'd known about them then."

When he is not busy "wrangling two kids under two", MacCormick says, he enjoys almost any outdoor activity and playing board games. "I'm also a recent convert to some types of opera."

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The BYU Mathletes

I recently got this email about the BYU Mathletes and I thought I'd share it. The rap video is great.


I recently saw that you highlighted Matt Lane and pointed out that he has a blog that looks at the intersection between math and pop culture.

Recently at my school (BYU) we created a video that epitomizes this. We have some amazing mathletes at our school and we wanted to find a fun way to highlight their accomplishments, so we created a math rap video. Here it is- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0AGT4M3Z1OM and here is some more info on the mathletes- http://bit.ly/BYUmathletes I’m sure this is something that your readers and listeners would enjoy!


Matt Hopkins
Brigham Young University

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Tony Gonzalez – Inspired by Math #4

About Math Girls:

Math isn’t hard. Love is.

Currently in its eighteenth printing in Japan, this best-selling novel is available in English at last. Combining mathematical rigor with light romance, MATH GIRLS is a unique introduction to advanced mathematics, delivered through the eyes of three students as they learn to deal with problems seldom found in textbooks. MATH GIRLS has something for everyone, from advanced high school to students to math majors and educators.

About Tony Gonzalez:

Tony Gonzalez is a Bento Books cofounder and has been translating video games, technical material, and academic papers from Japanese to English since 1992. He has also worked in a variety of fields, including software development and localization, technical management, and Japanese and mathematics education. In addition to his work with Bento Books, he also runs Mini-Oni, LLC from his office in Portland, Oregon.

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