Arthur T. Benjamin is a professor of mathematics at Harvey Mudd College who specializes in combinatorics.  He is known for mental math capabilities and “Mathemagics” performances in front of live audiences.  His mathematical abilities have been highlighted in newspaper and magazine articles, at TED Talks and on The Colbert Report.  He is the author of several books, including The Magic of Math: Solving for x and Figuring out Why.

Five Good Questions: Arthur Benjamin – The Magic Of Math

The Magic Of Math – Description

The Magic of Math: Solving for x and Figuring Out Why by Arthur Benjamin

The Magic of Math: Solving for x and Figuring Out Why is the math book you wish you had in school. Using a delightful assortment of examples—from ice cream scoops and poker hands to measuring mountains and making magic squares—this book empowers you to see the beauty, simplicity, and truly magical properties behind those formulas and equations that once left your head spinning. You’ll learn the key ideas of classic areas of mathematics like arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus, but you’ll also have fun fooling around with Fibonacci numbers, investigating infinity, and marveling over mathematical magic tricks that will make you look like a math genius!

A mathematician who is known throughout the world as the “mathemagician,” Arthur Benjamin mixes mathematics and magic to make the subject fun, attractive, and easy to understand. In The Magic of Math: Solving for x and Figuring Out Why, Benjamin does more than just teach skills: with a tip of his magic hat, he takes you on as his apprentice to teach you how to appreciate math the way he does. He motivates you to learn something new about how to solve for x, because there is real pleasure to be found in the solution to a challenging problem or in using numbers to do something useful. But what he really wants you to do is be able to figure out why, for that’s where you’ll find the real beauty, power, and magic of math.

If you are already someone who likes math, this book will dazzle and amuse you. If you never particularly liked or understood math, Benjamin will enlighten you and—with a wave of his magic wand—turn you into a math lover.

The Magic Of Math – Review

Praise For The Magic of Math: Solving for x and Figuring Out Why

“The book delivers on all the promise of both aspects of Benjamin’s talent: teacher and performer. Like [Martin] Gardner, Benjamin telegraphs a joy in surprising mathematical stunts…. I recommend this book for the math enthusiast embarking on his or her university career, the high school adept in your life intrigued by math yet bored in class, or someone remembering fondly math as their favorite subject yet lacking time to enroll in courses now.” – Tom Schulte, MAA Reviews

“[Benjamin] use[s] some interesting trickery to draw the reader into the conversation about the importance of math in everyday life…. The Magic of Math: Solving for x and Figuring Out Why is a good model for instructional material. It delivers material on a complex nature in a manner that most people will be able to understand, and you get some magic tricks and humor thrown in for the bargain. You will enjoy this book, you can count on that.” – Roanoke Times

“[A] well-written, entertaining volume…. This solid reference for teachers seeking interesting classroom examples (and jokes) could easily lure a student into further studies in mathematics.” – Library Journal

“An enthusiastic celebration of the beauty of mathematics…. Benjamin delivers a primer generously filled with insights and intuitions that make math approachable, interesting, and, yes, beautiful.” – Kirkus Reviews

“[A] positively joyful exploration of mathematics. [Benjamin’s] approach is simple and refreshingly practical…. Whether figuring out compound interest, using trigonometry to determine the height of a tree, or employing calculus to work out a shortest possible walking route, each topic is presented in the clearest, simplest way possible…. [I]ts energy and enthusiasm should charm even the most math-phobic readers.”Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Arthur Benjamin shows you that numbers do more than just keep track of things and solve problems. He joyfully shows you how to make nature’s numbers dance. Let his book be your partner for a lifetime of learning.” – Bill Nye, Science Educator and CEO, The Planetary Society

“Prepare to be dazzled and delighted. In The Magic of Math: Solving for x and Figuring Out Why, Art Benjamin offers us a fun, fast-paced magic show of the greatest treasures of pre-college math, from poker hands to Pascal’s triangle, all revealed with the flair of a showman and the clarity of a master teacher. The Magic of Math will leave you smiling, awestruck, and begging for an encore.” – Steven Strogatz, Professor of Mathematics, Cornell University and author of The Joy of x

The Magic of Math: Solving for x and Figuring Out Why teaches you cool mathematical facts, theorems, puzzles, and problems from arithmetic to calculus. The book provides problems that are accessible to everyone. Teachers will find many ideas to motivate students and to provide an extra challenge for those who are already into math.” – Gail Burrill, President Emeritus, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and Professor of Mathematics Education, Michigan State University

Arthur Benjamin - The Magic Of Math

The Magic of Math: Solving for x and Figuring Out Why by Arthur Benjamin