Math in unexpected places

These talks are here to set the record straight and illuminate the unexpected ways formulas and fractions influence everything, from love and war to origami and coral reefs.

  1. 17:02
    Hannah Fry The mathematics of love

    Finding the right mate is no cakewalk — but is it even mathematically likely? In a charming talk, mathematician Hannah Fry shows patterns in how we look for love, and gives her top three tips (verified by math!) for finding that special someone.

  2. 4:26
    Jean-Baptiste Michel The mathematics of history

    What can mathematics say about history? According to TED Fellow Jean-Baptiste Michel, quite a lot. From changes to language to the deadliness of wars, he shows how digitized history is just starting to reveal deep underlying patterns.

  3. 15:22
    Kevin Slavin How algorithms shape our world

    We live in a world run by algorithms, computer programs that make decisions or solve problems for us. In this riveting, funny talk, Kevin Slavin shows how modern algorithms determine stock prices, espionage tactics, even the movies you watch. But, he asks: If we depend on complex algorithms to manage our daily decisions — when do we start to lose control?

  4. 17:33
    Geoffrey West The surprising math of cities and corporations

    Physicist Geoffrey West has found that simple, mathematical laws govern the properties of cities — that wealth, crime rate, walking speed and many other aspects of a city can be deduced from a single number: the city's population. In this mind-bending talk from TEDGlobal he shows how it works and how similar laws hold for organisms and corporations.

  5. 6:24
    Arthur Benjamin The magic of Fibonacci numbers

    Math is logical, functional and just ... awesome. Mathemagician Arthur Benjamin explores hidden properties of that weird and wonderful set of numbers, the Fibonacci series. (And reminds you that mathematics can be inspiring, too!)

  6. 7:19
    Sean Gourley The mathematics of war

    By analyzing raw data on violent incidents in the Iraq war and others, Sean Gourley and his team claim to have found a surprisingly strong mathematical relationship linking the fatality and frequency of attacks.

  7. 15:33
    Margaret Wertheim The beautiful math of coral

    Margaret Wertheim leads a project to re-create the creatures of the coral reefs using a crochet technique invented by a mathematician — celebrating the amazements of the reef, and deep-diving into the hyperbolic geometry underlying coral creation.

  8. 16:57
    Ron Eglash The fractals at the heart of African designs

    'I am a mathematician, and I would like to stand on your roof.' That is how Ron Eglash greeted many African families he met while researching the fractal patterns he'd noticed in villages across the continent.

  9. 15:53
    Robert Lang The math and magic of origami

    Robert Lang is a pioneer of the newest kind of origami — using math and engineering principles to fold mind-blowingly intricate designs that are beautiful and, sometimes, very useful.