Cartoon by John Eddings

‘Mathemagician’ in viral TED Talk to speak at Manchester on April 20

While others use calculators, Arthur Benjamin uses just his mind. And he almost always wins.

His mesmerizing mental math skills will take the stage this month at Manchester University’s North Manchester campus.

 “Mathemagics” is 7 p.m. Monday, April 20, in the Jo Young Switzer Center, upper level. It is open and free to the public.

Benjamin will engage the audience through humor and showmanship, and challenge those who bring calculators to race him to the answers.

At the end of his performance of arithmetical feats – squaring five-digit numbers in his head and determining the day of the week of random dates in history – Benjamin will explain the algebraic and mnemonic tricks that he uses to arrive at the right answers.

Dr. Jim Brumbaugh-Smith, MU associate professor of mathematics, looks forward to Benjamin displaying “his amazing ability to do mathematics in his head as well as his enthusiasm for doing and applying math.” Brumbaugh-Smith, who has seen Benjamin perform more than once, hopes Manchester students will realize mathematics is a skill that takes practice to excel in just like athletics or music.

His day job: Arthur Benjamin teaching at Harvey Mudd CollegeDr. Benjamin is a professor of mathematics at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, Calif., and his TED Talk has received more than 7.1 million views. He has appeared on television shows such as the Today Show and The Queen Latifah Show, as well as on National Public Radio.

He is creator of several Great Courses DVDs, including Secrets of Mental Math, The Joy of Mathematics, Discrete Mathematics and The Mathematics of Games and Puzzles.  Several DVDs will be awarded for audience participation and, following the program, copies will be available for purchase and signing.

“This presentation will be fun – and understandable! – for youth and adults of all ages and mathematical backgrounds,” Brumbaugh-Smith said. The event is sponsored by the MU Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.

Prepared with assistance by Manchester University student workerHeather Elson.

March 30, 2015

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