Wild About Math! Making Math fun and accessible


Vi Hart on Snowflakes, Starflakes, and Swirlflakes

Great fun making paper snowflakes and their friends!

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More podcasts coming up in 2013

In 2012 I began my podcast interview series, Inspired By Math!, where I interview people who are inspired by Math and who are inspiring others. I started the series with Keith Devlin on Valentine's Day and have published 15 podcasts altogether, including one with Michael Schrenk on Webbots, Spiders, and Screen Scrapers which was not in the "Inspired by Math" series but I included it because web crawlers are a big interest of mine.

In 2013 I plan to do more podcasts, including more computer-related ones that spark an interest in computing and in mathematical thinking. I started this blog more than five years ago and it took me four of those years to realize that I like to have conversations with people much more than I enjoy writing. I've written plenty of proposals, marketing pieces, press releases, and even ghost-authored a semi-technical article that got published in a professional journal. So, I just assumed that blogging would be the natural way to share my passion about Math. But, this audio interviewing thing captures my heart and mind much more than writing so I'm hoping to do 30 or more podcasts in the coming year. (There, I've said it. Now I have to do it.)

In an effort to make it easy for you to subscribe to the podcasts I've set up an Itunes channel and an RSS feed.

If you're an Itunes person you can subscribe to the series here:


If RSS is your thing, you can point your reader here:


If you want to browse the set of podcasts, just click here:


In case you're wondering who I might interview in the coming year, I'm making my list now of who I'm hoping is willing to indulge me. And, I've put the word out that I'm looking for candidates. I've gotten some great suggestions at MathStackExchange. Shecky gave me some great suggestions at his great blog. See the comments at this article.

I should also mention that Shecky's interview series (he does his via email) is outstanding. You can find his interviews here.

Who do you think I should be interviewing in 2013? Who do you know, or know of, who has made a difference in the Math world, who has helped to make Math more accessible, that I should be talking to? That person can be a blogger, a teacher, a mathematician, computer programmer, business person, toy or puzzle maker, or be in any field. Please leave a comment with your ideas.

Have a Happy New Year!

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Alfred Posamentier – Inspired by Math #13

Dr. Alfred Posamentier and Ingmar Lehmann recently co-authored a delightful book, The Secrets of Triangles: A Mathematical Journey, published by Prometheus Books. I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Posamentier for 50 minutes. Aside from the fact that we both grew up in New York City and got to reminisce about some of the prominent math teachers of the late '70's and early 80's, I very much appreciate Dr. Posamentier's deep understanding of the issues that make math challenging for teachers and students, and his deep caring about my favorite subject.

About Dr. Posamentier

From Wikipedia:
Alfred S. Posamentier (born October 18, 1942) is among the most prominent American educators in the country and is a lead commentator on American math and science education, regularly contributing to The New York Times and other news publications. He has created original math and science curricula, emphasized the need for increased math and science funding, promulgated criteria by which to select math and science educators, advocated the importance of involving parents in K-12 math and science education, and provided myriad curricular solutions for teaching critical thinking in math.

Dr. Posamentier was a member of the New York State Education Commissioner’s Blue Ribbon Panel on the Math-A Regents Exams. He served on the the Commissioner’s Mathematics Standards Committee, which redefined the Standards for New York State. And he currently serves on the New York City schools’ Chancellor’s Math Advisory Panel.

Dr. Posamentier has authored or co-authored over 55 books, including:

  • Progress in Mathematics K-9 textbook series (Sadlier-Oxford, 2006-2009)
  • Math Wonders: To Inspire Teachers and Students (ASCD, 2003)
  • Math Charmers: Tantalizing Tidbits for the Mind (Prometheus Books, 2003)
  • Pi: A Biography of the World’s Most Mysterious Number (Prometheus Books, 2004)
  • 101+ Great Ideas to Introduce Key Concepts in Mathematics (Corwin, 2006)
  • What successful Math Teacher Do: Grades 6-12 (Corwin 2006)
  • What successful Math Teacher Do: Grades K-5 (Corwin 2007)
  • Exemplary Practices for Secondary Math Teachers (ASCD, 2007) and The Fabulous Fibonacci Numbers (Prometheus Books, 2007)
  • Problem-Solving Strategies for Efficient and Elegant Solutions, Grades 6-12 (Corwin, 2008
  • Problem Solving in Mathematics: Grades 3-6: Powerful Strategies to Deepen Understanding (Corwin, 2009)
  • Mathematical Amazements and Surprises: Fascinating Figures and Noteworthy Numbers (Prometheus, 2009)
  • The Pythagorean Theorem : Its Power and Glory (Prometheus, 2010)
  • The Fabulous Fibonacci Numbers (Prometheus, 2011)
  • The Glorious Golden Ratio (Prometheus, 2012)
  • The Art of Motivating Students for Mathematics Instructions (Mc-Graw-Hill, 2012)
  • The Secrets of Triangles (Prometheus, 2012)

About The Secrets of Triangles: A Mathematical Journey

From the publisher's site (Prometheus Books):
“An adventure into the awe-inspiring realms of the triangle. [Posamentier and Lehmann] show us that a study of this basic geometric figure reveals a compelling and natural aesthetic beauty, and in so doing they unravel remarkable relationships and mathematical phenomena. The authors provide examples that illustrate the fascination that mathematicians and philosophers have had with the triangle for over two thousand years. . . . Their book forms a worthy and practical adjunct to this inspiring corpus of thought.”

TOM BREEN, executive chairman, Breen Property Group, Australia

“This book exposes some of the most amazing relationships involving triangles and their parts. With just some recollection of high-school geometry, the reader will be guided through many surprising triangle relationships that could rekindle for many the beauty of mathematics. Readers will surely find this book entertaining because, through simple language, wonders of geometry emerge.”

DR. CHARLOTTE K. FRANK, senior vice president, Research and Development, McGraw-Hill Education

“This wonderful book intelligibly presents a plethora of triangle characteristics and relationships that really makes one appreciate this basic geometric figure. A must-read for anyone curious about what was missed in high-school geometry.”

DR. ANTON DOBART, director general,
Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture, Vienna, Austria

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Ed Burger – Inspired by Math #12

Here's a really fun interview with a Math professor who is engaging, smart, and has won a ton of awards. If you've ever wondered how we as teachers, parents, students, and life long learners could make a difference in a subject like Math that's been so much sucked of its life, listen to this podcast and read the short book, The Five Elements of Effective Thinking.

About Ed Burger

Edward B. Burger is a professor at Williams College, an educational and business consultant, and a former vice provost at Baylor University. He has authored or coauthored more than sixty-five articles, books, and video series; delivered over five hundred addresses and workshops throughout the world; and made more than fifty radio and television appearances. His teaching and scholarly writing have earned him many national honors, including the largest teaching award given in the English-speaking world.

See Ed Burger's Wikipedia page and his page at Williams College.

About The Five Elements of Effective Thinking

From the publisher's site:

The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking presents practical, lively, and inspiring ways for you to become more successful through better thinking. The idea is simple: You can learn how to think far better by adopting specific strategies. Brilliant people aren't a special breed--they just use their minds differently. By using the straightforward and thought-provoking techniques in The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking, you will regularly find imaginative solutions to difficult challenges, and you will discover new ways of looking at your world and yourself--revealing previously hidden opportunities.

The book offers real-life stories, explicit action items, and concrete methods that allow you to attain a deeper understanding of any issue, exploit the power of failure as a step toward success, develop a habit of creating probing questions, see the world of ideas as an ever-flowing stream of thought, and embrace the uplifting reality that we are all capable of change. No matter who you are, the practical mind-sets introduced in the book will empower you to realize any goal in a more creative, intelligent, and effective manner. Filled with engaging examples that unlock truths about thinking in every walk of life, The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking is written for all who want to reach their fullest potential--including students, parents, teachers, businesspeople, professionals, athletes, artists, leaders, and lifelong learners.

Whenever you are stuck, need a new idea, or want to learn and grow, The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking will inspire and guide you on your way.

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