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Don’t miss this amazing opportunity to see Dr. Arthur Benjamin, a Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College, perform his Mathemagics show this Saturday.  He has delighted a global audience with his mixture of math and magic and now Metroplex Math Circle will be able to enjoy this fast-paced and entertaining performance.  The event will be held in the TI Auditorium of the ECSS building on the campus of UTD.  This will be a popular session, so come early to ensure a seat.Screenshot 2015-01-16 09.32.58

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A good friend of the Metroplex Math Circle, Dr. Arthur Benjamin, is a popular speaker at the world famous TED conference.  Recently, he offered his own idea for fundamentally changing math education in our country.  Like Richard Rusczyk, he sees the singular focus on Calculus as insufficient and distracting from a full math education.

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discrete mathA good friend of the Metroplex Math Circle, Dr. Arthur Benjamin, has just released a new lecture course through the Teaching Company titled “Discrete Mathematics.” We have our pre-ordered copy and its seems to have the unique combination of humor and depth that we know from Dr. Benjamin’s excellent “mathemagic” presentations.

For any students just starting with Math Circles, they will benefit greatly from becoming familiar with the topics on these DVDs: number theory,  combinatorics and graph theory.

Here is the description of the course from the Teaching Company:

Welcome to Discrete Mathematics, a subject that is off the beaten track that most of us followed in school but that has vital applications in computer science, cryptography, engineering, and problem solving of all types.

Most of the mathematics taught after elementary school is aimed at preparing students for one subject—calculus, which is the mathematics of how things grow and change continuously, like waves in the water or clouds in the sky. Discrete mathematics, on the other hand, deals with quantities that can be broken into neat little pieces, like pixels on a computer screen, the letters or numbers in a password, or directions on how to drive from one place to another.

While continuous mathematics resembles an old-fashioned analog clock, whose second hand sweeps continuously across a dial, discrete mathematics is like a digital watch, whose numbers proceed one second at a time. As a result, discrete mathematics achieves fascinating mathematical results using relatively simple means, such as counting.

Explore this modern realm of digital math in Discrete Mathematics, 24 mind-expanding lectures by veteran Teaching Company Professor Arthur T. Benjamin, an award-winning educator and mathemagician who has designed a course that is mathematically rigorous and yet entertaining and accessible to anyone with a basic knowledge of high school algebra.

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Dr. Titu Andreescu and Dr. Arthur Benjamin

Dr. Titu Andreescu and Dr. Arthur Benjamin

Metroplex Math Circle’s first ever Special Presentation was a great success!  Over 330 people attended Dr. Arthur Benjamin’s presentation which demonstrated amazing feats of mental calculation.

Dr. Benjamin amazed the crowd with his ability to multiply and square 4 and 5 digit numbers in his head.  But unlike other magicians, because Dr. Benjamin’s “tricks” are based on mathematics he is willing to show the crowd his secrets.  One of the many things that Dr. Benjamin taught was the ability to quickly find the day of the week a person will celebrate their birthday in the past, present or future.

After his formal presentation, Dr. Benjamin took questions from the audience and gave informative and entertaining responses.  One such question led to a rare singing performance of a song about Pi!  After the performance, Dr. Benjamin was extremely generous with his time signing autographs and talking with the students.

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Attendees had high praise for Dr. Benjamin and his performance, including:

“This was FANTASTIC! I have always wanted to know how to figure out what day of the week a birthday was on. Now I can do that and square a 2 digit number in my head! I will be bugging friends with that parlor trick for a while….I am worse than the kids LOL Emma and Olivia couldn’t go to sleep they were still so excited from the presentation.”

“Our whole family attended and thoroughly enjoyed the presentation an Encore would be wonderful!”

“My family enjoyed Dr. Benjamin tremendously.  We could have listened to him all night.  Thank you so much for having him at Mathcircle.  It was truly a night to remember.”

“My husband and daughter attended last night and really enjoyed the presentation. Thanks to all who worked to put it together!!”

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Please feel free to post your own comments or questions in the comments section.

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Our November 19, 2008 Special Presentation will be by Dr. Arthur Benjamin, who in addition to being a sought after speaker is also a successful author.  Many people are familiar with Dr. Benjamin from the course that he authored for the Teaching Company entitled Joy of Mathematics. Following is an excerpt from the course description:

Fun with Numbers

Here is an example:

Think of a number between 1 and 10. Triple it. Add 6. Then triple again. Now take your answer, probably a two-digit number, and add the digits of your answer. If you still have a two-digit number, add those digits again. You should now be thinking of the magical number 9. The reason this works is based on algebra and the fact that the digits of any multiple of 9 must sum to a multiple of 9.

This is one of the many wonders of modular arithmetic, sometimes called clock arithmetic, where numbers wrap around in a circle. A useful application of this field is casting out nines, a simple and ancient technique for checking the answers to arithmetical problems.

Modular arithmetic also provides a very handy method for mentally computing the day of the week for any date in history.

This connection between entertaining number tricks and the deeper properties of mathematics reflects Dr. Benjamin’s specialty, which is combinatorics, the branch of mathematics that deals with the subtleties of counting. Some examples: How many different six-symbol license plates are possible? And for the book collector, how many ways are there of arranging 10 books on a shelf? (Would you believe more than 3 million?) These simple questions introduce concepts such as the factorial function.

Drawing on his dual fascination with combinatorics and games, Dr. Benjamin used his analytical skill to win first place in the American Backgammon Tour in 1997.

In addition to his scholarly articles, Dr. Benjamin has also written books that are highly accessible to the public.  One such book is Secrets of Mental Math: The Mathemagician’s Guide to Lightning Calculation and Amazing Math Tricks co-written with Michael Shermer with a foreword by Bill Nye the Science Guy.  Praise for this book includes:

secretsofmentalmath-bookcover“A great introduction to the wonder of numbers, from two superb teachers.”
— Brian Greene, author of The Elegant Universe

“A magical mystery tour of mental mathematics! Fascinating and fun.”
— Joseph Gallian, president of the Mathematical Association of America

“The clearest, simplest, most entertaining, and best book yet on the art of calculating in your head.”
— Martin Gardner, author of Mathematical Magic Show and hundreds of Mathematical Games columns for Scientific American.

“This book can teach you mental math skills that will surprise you and your friends. Better, you will have fun and have valuable practical tools inside your head.”
— Dr. Edward O. Thorp, mathematician and author of Beat the Dealer and “Beat the Market”

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benjamin-colorheadshot_tnMetroplex Math Circle is very pleased to announce a special presentation by Dr. Arthur Benjamin, November 19th, 2008 at 7:00 PM in the TI Auditorium, room 2.102 in the Engineering and Computer Sciences building (ECSS) on the campus of the University of Texas at Dallas.

Dr. Benjamin is a very distinguished mathematician at the prestigious Harvey Mudd College who has authored multiple books and scholarly papers.

But he is also very well known as an entertainer and “mathemagician.”  Dr. Benjamin’s program should be inspiring and entertaining for adults and students of all ages.

Following are just some of the accolades that Dr. Benjamin has received from reviewers and audiences:

“He talks like a peformer, acts like a magician, and multiplies faster than a calculator.”
— The Los Angeles Times.

“Someone you can count on!”
— People Magazine

“Please allow me to express our sincere thanks for your amazing performance at the 2008 Archer User Group Summit in Orlando, Florida. Your gift for mental calculation is truly astounding. The technology, risk management and compliance professionals who attended the Summit were completely captivated by your presentation, and we appreciate the excitement that you brought to our event. You had the complete attention of everyone in the room throughout your entire presentation, and your feats of mind were a major point of discussion for the remainder of the Summit. We would wholeheartedly recommend your presentation to any organization planning an event for professionals who like a good mental challenge. You inspired us all to use our brains a little bit more, and we will never forget your incredible show.”
— Alex Bender, Vice President of Marketing, Archer Technologies, 2008

“Doctor Benjamin’s presentation ranks among the very best. He is able to entertain, motivate, stimulate, and educate simultaneously, a rare ability that helps to bring the joy of math and science into the lives of his audiences.”
— Dr. Steven Murov, Director, Modesto Area Partners in Science

“Parents, teachers, and children, with multiple layers of math phobia, related easily to your imaginative style of storytelling and theater that brings math to a ‘Wow!’ level.”
Sarah Orleans, Director of Programs, The Franklin Institute Science Program

“Dr. Arthur Benjamin made two presentations at Millersville University as part of the 21st annual Brossman Science Lectureship. The audience for the afternoon presentation consisted of 5th through 9th graders. The audience for the evening performance consisted of children through adults including university students and faculty. There was standing room only for both presentations (750 each). These were the largest crowds to ever attend the Science Lectureship. Dr. Benjamin appealed to all ages. His presentations were energetic and humorous as well as being informative. He had people excited about mathematics. One teacher stated: ‘Dr. Benjamin was a fantastic lecturer and truly inspiring to the students.'”
— Dr. Lyman Rickard, Millersville University

“Arthur Benjamin, the `mathemagician,’ wowed the crowd with his demonstration of lightning calculation. It’s hard to believe that watching someone do math would be entertaining, but Arthur is a knockout.”
— Magic Magazine, November 2007

“That was one of the most incredible finishing acts we’ve ever had!”
— Carmie Henry, Vice President, Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, 2008

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In November Metroplex Math Circle will help sponsor a special presentation from Dr. Arthur Benjamin! Dr. Benjamin is a distinguished mathematician at Harvey Mudd but also a very entertaining “mathemagician” whose shows are commissioned by many corporations and institutions around the country.

Here is his presentation at the prestigious TED conference:

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