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Get a 12-episode introduction to magic tricks using tools like playing cards, numbers, and geometric figures. Popular “mathemagician” and professor Arthur T. Benjamin reveals such fundamentals of the magician’s art as the parity principle, lightning calculations, the perfect shuffle, and magic squares. Learn to astonish and delight your family, your friends, and even yourself.

Math and Magic is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (12 episodes). The series first aired on October 12, 2018.

Math and Magic is available for streaming on the The Great Courses Signature Collection website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Math and Magic on demand at Amazon Prime, Amazon, The Roku Channel online.

The Great Courses Signature Collection
1 Season, 12 Episodes
October 12, 2018
Cast: Arthur T. Benjamin
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Math and Magic Full Episode Guide

  • Since ancient times, magic squares have given endless hours of fun through designing grids of numbers where each row, column, and diagonal produces the same sum - as if by magic. In this last lesson, learn to create magic squares quickly from numbers provided by your amazed audience or based on your volunteer's birthday. Finally, end the course with a magic matrix based on the number pi.

  • Explore mathematical mysteries that seem geometrically or topologically odd. Consider a paper strip with a half twist, joined end-to-end, known as a Möbius band. What happens when there are more twists or if the shape is cut? Create an analogous shape by slicing a bagel. Also, solve puzzles with disappearing figures, including a rabbit.

  • Hone your psychic powers by developing tricks such as these: Have someone scramble their birthday in a seemingly unbreakable code, which you decipher with ease. Calculate the hidden spots on a stack of dice. Use the parity principle to guess where your partner has landed in an alphabetic array. Also learn the magician's "toxic" calculation principle.

  • Admire the magic of the number nine. An ancient technique called "casting out nines" lets you pick out the missing digit in a bewilderingly long series of operations. Then learn to determine two-digit cube roots and also find the age of a volunteer who has hidden the number in a complicated calculation - all with the help of the number nine.

  • You don't have to be a genius to look like one. Drawing on young volunteers, Professor Benjamin shows easy strategies for mentally multiplying numbers by 11, dividing numbers by 91, multiplying any numbers near 100, squaring numbers ending in 5, and other seemingly fearless feats of arithmetic, without use of a calculator.

  • Professor Benjamin introduces a special guest, mathematician and magician Brent Morris, master of the perfect shuffle (also known as the faro shuffle), in which two equal halves of the deck are interlaced perfectly. You will learn two versions of this virtuoso technique - the in-shuffle and out-shuffle - along with sequences of shuffles that lead to very interesting symmetries.

  • Investigate tricks based on the cyclic method of card ordering, or "stacking," popularized by magician Si Stebbins and tracing originally to one of the first books on magic, published in Italy in 1593. Learn how to seemingly weigh a deck of cards in your hands and other miraculous feats based on this simple principle.

  • Professor Benjamin shows how to play cards like someone who would be thrown out of a casino. Learn the Jonah principle for always winning at poker. Get a "feel" for counting cards and develop the knack for telepathically communicating a hidden card to an assistant. Finally, who could claim to be a card shark without a trick that turns up four aces every time?

  • Explore card tricks in which the cards are shuffled, dealt, and flipped over in interesting ways, leading to surprising outcomes. Discover Hummer's principle - an endless source of mystifying, crowd-pleasing tricks, based on random mixing of cards combined with a simple procedure that preserves a pattern that seems positively magical.