Ta Da! (A Magical Math Pop Quiz)

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Mathematics (HMC)

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Arthur T. Benjamin has two passions: magic and math. When not amazing audiences around the country -- squaring five-digit numbers in his head or guessing your number, any number -- the Mathemagician is a professor of math at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, Calif. There's even whimsy to his Ph.D. dissertation, at Johns Hopkins, titled "Turnpike Structures for Optimal Maneuvers": the maneuvers were inspired by a way of arranging Chinese checkers to move expeditiously across the board. Below, Dr. Benjamin shares some of the concepts from his DVD course "The Joy of Mathematics" and his book "Secrets of Mental Math: The Mathemagician's Guide to Lightning Calculation and Amazing Math Tricks."


A version of this article appeared in print on January 3, 2010 in the Education Life Section on page ED32 of the New York edition.

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© 2009 The New York Times Company

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