I am a mathemagician, which means that I combine two of my passions, mathematics and magic. Essentially, I race calculators and demonstrate and explain my skill to audiences all over the world. I am a professor of mathematics at Harvey Mudd College, in Claremont, California and I love spreading the joy of math to some of the brightest students in the country.
TEDGlobal 2013, TEDActive 2009
Areas of Expertise
Mathematics, Magician/Mentalist, Fibonacci numbers
An idea worth spreading
The American high school mathematics curriculum is geared towards preparing all students for CALCULUS, a subject that very few of them will ever apply in a meaningful way. Instead, we should focus on probability and STATISTICS, which have unlimited daily applications. The mathematics underlying it is beautiful, applicable, and fun. If more people had a better understanding of evaluating risk and understanding data, then our country would be in much better shape.
I'm passionate about
Talk to me about
People don't know I'm good at
Backgammon. (I was winner of the American Backgammon Tour in 1997.)
My TED story
In 2004, Chris Anderson heard me give a mathematics talk to an eclectic group of magicians, mathematicians, philosophers, and puzzle enthusiasts. He invited me to speak at TED 2005, where I had the pleasure of performing my "mathemagics" show to an extremely receptive audience. As a result of that presentation, my book "Secrets of Mental Math" was published by Random House, and after my TED performance hit the internet, I received many speaking engagements. In addition, I made many friends and was (of course) inspired by nearly all of the speakers. When I gave a 3 minute TED talk in 2009, this led to an appearance on The Colbert Report.