Published on Mar 19, 2017

Po-Shen Loh is a Hertz Foundation Fellow and Carnegie Mellon mathematics professor who thinks that history is a much harder subject than math. Do you agree? Well, your position on that might change before and after this video. Loh illuminates the invisible ladders within the world of math, and shows that it isn’t about memorizing formulas—it’s about processing reason and logic. With the support of the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation, Po-Shen Loh pursued a PhD in combinatorics at the Pure Math Department at Princeton University.

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Partial transcript and full video below.

Also see The Original Collection of Math Contest Problems: Elementary and Middle School Math Contest by Orange County Math Circle (Author), Eric Xu (Author), Michelle Chen (Author), Victor Chen (Author), Benjamin Chen (Author), Jason Ye (Author), Lia Tian (Illustrator), Prof Po-Shen Loh


I think that everyone in the world could be a math person if they wanted to. The keyword though, I want to say, is if they wanted to. That said, I do think that everyone in America could benefit from having that mathematical background in reasoning just to help everyone make very good decisions. And here I’m distinguishing already between math as people usually conceive of it, and decision making and analysis, which is actually what I think math is.

So, for example, I don’t think that being a math person means that you can recite the formulas between the sines, cosines, tangents and to use logarithms and exponentials interchangeably. That’s not necessarily what I think everyone should try to concentrate to understand. The main things to concentrate to understand are the mathematical principles of reasoning.

The Original Collection of Math Contest Problems

Written for the student searching for new competition math tactics, the coach or teacher hoping to find a wealth of problems, or simply someone seeking to keep practicing and improving his math skills, The Original Collection of Math Contest Problems is used by elementary and middle school students to excel in MATHCOUNTS, Math Olympiads, and beyond. Covering the areas of Algebra, Geometry, Counting and Probability, and Number Sense, over 500 examples and problems with fully explained solutions represent the commonly seen competition questions and essential strategies experienced and developed by all the authors throughout their math careers from MATHCOUNTS to the USA(J)MO.

The Original Collection of Math Contest Problems