Arthur Benjamin, Harvey Mudd College
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Abstract: Art Benjamin is a mathematician and a magician. In this performance, he will demonstrate and explain how to mentally multiply numbers faster than a calculator, how to memorize pi to 100 places, how to calculate the day of the week of any date in history, and other amazing feats of mind. He has presented his mixture of math and magic to audiences all over the world.
Biography: Arthur Benjamin earned his B.S. in Applied Mathematics from Carnegie Mellon and his Ph.D. in Mathematical Sciences from Johns Hopkins. Since 1989, he has taught at Harvey Mudd College, where he is Professor of Mathematics and past chair. In 2000, he received the Haimo Award for Distinguished Teaching from the Mathematical Association of America, and served as the MAA's Pólya Lecturer from 2006 to 2008.
His research interests include combinatorics and number theory, with a special fondness for Fibonacci numbers. Many of these ideas appear in his book (co-authored with Jennifer Quinn), Proofs That Really Count: The Art of Combinatorial Proof, published by MAA. In 2006, that book received the MAA's Beckenbach Book Prize. Professors Benjamin and Quinn were the editors of Math Horizons magazine from 2004 through 2008. He is a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society.
Dr. Benjamin has created four DVD courses for The Great Courses on The Joy of Mathematics, Discrete Mathematics, The Secrets of Mental Math, and The Mathematics of Games and Puzzles. He is a past winner of the American Backgammon Tour.
He is also a magician who performs his mixture of math and magic to audiences all over the world, including the Magic Castle in Hollywood. He has demonstrated and explained his calculating talents in his book Secrets of Mental Math and on numerous television and radio programs, including The Today Show, CNN, and National Public Radio. He has been featured in Scientific American, Omni, Discover, People, Esquire, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Reader's Digest. In 2005, Reader's Digest called him "America's Best Math Whiz."