Math and Magic

Watch Math and Magic

  • 2018
  • 1 Season

Math and Magic is a fascinating and entertaining course from The Great Courses Signature Collection hosted by the renowned mathematician and magician, Arthur T. Benjamin. This course explores the surprising ways that mathematics and magic can be intertwined and used together to create some truly stunning and mind-boggling effects.

Over the course of 12 lessons, Dr. Benjamin takes viewers on a journey through the connection between math and magic. He showcases a range of fascinating card tricks, mind-bending puzzles, and other illusions which are all rooted in mathematical principles. From using probability to guess a chosen card, to predicting the outcome of a series of dice rolls, Dr. Benjamin reveals the secrets behind these incredible feats.

But Math and Magic is much more than just a show about cool tricks. Dr. Benjamin takes viewers deeper into the mathematical concepts that underpin magic, such as permutations, combinations, and graph theory. He explains these concepts in an accessible and engaging way, using visual aids and clear explanations to help viewers understand the importance of these ideas.

One of the most interesting and impactful parts of Math and Magic is the way that Dr. Benjamin shows how mathematical principles can be used in real-world applications beyond magic tricks. For example, he explores how graph theory can be used to optimize transportation networks, or how probability can be used to better understand the spread of disease. These applications show how the skills and concepts learned through this course can have a meaningful impact on our everyday lives.

Throughout the course, Dr. Benjamin's passion for both mathematics and magic shines through. He is a natural storyteller who weaves fascinating anecdotes and personal experiences into each lesson. His enthusiasm for the subject is infectious, and he invites viewers to join him on this journey of discovery and exploration.

Overall, Math and Magic is a fantastic course that combines entertainment with education in a way that is both accessible and fun. Dr. Benjamin's unique blend of math and magic is sure to captivate viewers of all ages and backgrounds, and inspire them to see the world in a new and exciting way.

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

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Magic Squares
12. Magic Squares
October 12, 2018
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.
Geometric and Topological Magic
11. Geometric and Topological Magic
October 12, 2018
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.
Look like a Psychic
10. Look like a Psychic
October 12, 2018
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.
The Magic of Nine
9. The Magic of Nine
October 12, 2018
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.
Look like a Genius
8. Look like a Genius
October 12, 2018
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.
Magic with Numbers
7. Magic with Numbers
October 12, 2018
Master an impressive medley of number-guessing tricks, involving the golden ratio, the Fibonacci series, and other notable numbers. In analyzing how the tricks work, discover how straightforward algebraic expressions are secretly pulling the strings. The feats include the very first mathematical magic trick that Professor Benjamin learned.
Riffle Shuffles
6. Riffle Shuffles
October 12, 2018
Explore results of an ordinary riffle shuffle, where the deck is cut roughly in half, and the cards are interlaced approximately - but usually not perfectly. Depending on how the cards are arranged beforehand, intriguing effects are possible, based on Gilbreath's principle of patterned sequences. Study several of these magic showpieces.
Perfect Shuffles
5. Perfect Shuffles
October 12, 2018
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.
The Deck Is Stacked
4. The Deck Is Stacked
October 12, 2018
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.
Look like a Card Shark
3. Look like a Card Shark
October 12, 2018
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?
What's Your Deal?
2. What's Your Deal?
October 12, 2018
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.
Mathematical Card Tricks
1. Mathematical Card Tricks
October 12, 2018
Begin the course with card tricks in which mathematics is clearly being used, but the secret is not easy to figure out. Learn the invariant principle: Some qualities stay the same in a deck even though the order of cards is changing. End with what Professor Benjamin calls the "tear-able" trick, being careful to use cards that you don't mind wrecking. #Science & Mathematics
Where to Watch Math and Magic
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.
  • Premiere Date
    October 12, 2018