Using magic to learn about maths

June 3, 2009
Using magic to learn about maths

(PhysOrg.com) -- An academic from Queen Mary, University of London has launched a series of videos featuring magic tricks that are conjured from a mathematical perspective.

Professor Peter McOwan from Queen Mary’s School of Electronic Engineering and has produced a series of videos entitled ‘Maths in Magic’ and ‘Hustle’ in conjunction with More Maths Grads (MMG). MMG is a three year project to boost the number of students studying mathematics and encourage participation from groups of learners who have not traditionally been well represented in higher education.

“It’s fascinating how many great magic tricks and more worryingly con tricks work using hidden mathematical principles”, explained Professor McOwan.
“The videos were made to help show how the power of maths can entertain and mystify, and how if we aren’t careful can even part us from our hard earned cash.”

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Each video, filmed with a live audience, shows how the scams and tricks are performed, then reveals the clever maths behind the scenes. Professor McOwan added: “Hopefully viewers will learn a party trick or two, and be less likely to be conned mathematically in the future.”

Queen Mary is leading the MMG project in east London and is working closely with nine local schools to offer a series of activities to suit their needs. MMG national project manager Makhan Singh said: “The beauty of maths comes alive in these two short movies, highlighting that maths is more than just numbers - maths is actually a creative art form - an art that can create mystery, suspense and intrigue.”

The videos are available on YouTube at: www.youtube.com/user/moremathsgrads

Provided by Queen Mary, University of London (news : web)

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3 comments

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patnclaire
1 / 5 (1) Jun 03, 2009
The biggest magic trick for me in high school and college math was seeing the phrase "Proof left as an exercise" in the textbook. One minute you are clueless - Presto - you have the answer. I understand the space limitation but it really does seem like laziness.
Why can't the textbook authors put the proofs on a website, like they do for the errata.
There are autodidact in the world who would benefit.
OregonWind
not rated yet Jun 03, 2009
patnclaire

I think the author actually, in most cases, wants the reader to develop confidence on the subject and skills by doing the exercise. Usually the proof is not so hard if the reader is really paying attention. I don't see it as laziness from the author.
Mercury_01
not rated yet Jun 03, 2009
People needs to learn their maths!

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