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Professor at Harvey Mudd College

Professor at Harvey Mudd College >

26
Videos
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Math in Your Head!
Episode 1 of Secrets of Mental Math
Dive right into the joys of mental math. First, learn the fundamental strategies of mental arithmetic (including the value of adding from left to right, unlike what you do on paper). Then, discover how a variety of shortcuts hold the…
Mastering Rubik’s Cube
Episode 9 of The Mathematics of Games and Puzzles
It's one of the most famous puzzles ever invented. But Professor Benjamin has an easy-to-learn, eight-step method for solving this mind-bending puzzle quickly and accurately--every time. After examining the mathematics behind the cube, you'll follow him step-by-step through an algorithm…
Solving Sudoku
Episode 10 of The Mathematics of Games and Puzzles
What's the key to solving Sudoku problems when you're at your wits' end? Training your mind to look for patterns and to use careful logic, just like mathematicians. This episode is packed with helpful techniques and strategies for overcoming even…
Games of Chance and Winning Wagers
Episode 2 of The Mathematics of Games and Puzzles
Turn now to games that rely heavily on chance and betting, such as roulette and craps, and learn how to evaluate the fairness (or unfairness) of games using the ever-important concept of expected value. Once you know if a game…
Let the Games Begin!
Episode 1 of The Mathematics of Games and Puzzles
Explore some general strategies for successfully solving simple games and puzzles. As you hone your skills at games and puzzles, including 20 Questions, Mastermind, Ghost, The Tower of Hanoi, variations of Tic Tac Toe, and Cram (a cross between checkers…
Practical Poker Probabilities
Episode 5 of The Mathematics of Games and Puzzles
Investigate the mathematics of Texas Hold'em, one of the most popular traditional poker games. What's the probability your hand will improve before and after more cards are revealed? How do you calculate your "pot odds" to help you determine your…
Mental Addition and Subtraction
Episode 2 of Secrets of Mental Math
Professor Benjamin demonstrates how easily you can mentally add and subtract one-, two-, and three-digit numbers. He also shows you shortcuts using the complement of a number (its distance from 100 or 1000) and demonstrates the uses of mental addition…
Mathematics and Chess
Episode 11 of The Mathematics of Games and Puzzles
Chess is more like doing real mathematics than almost any other game out there. You'll get a quick overview of how it's is played; learn how to see connections between math and chess; explore some classic chess puzzles and problems;…
Optimal Blackjack and Simple Card Counting
Episode 3 of The Mathematics of Games and Puzzles
Depending on how you play it, blackjack can be the best or the worst game in a casino. Here, Professor Benjamin shows you how to get the best of blackjack before it gets the best of you. By taking you…
Games You Can’t Lose and Sneaky Puzzles
Episode 7 of The Mathematics of Games and Puzzles
The world of games is filled with scams. The trick: knowing the strategies behind how these hustles work so you can avoid being exploited. Explore the fundamentals of nontransitive properties through penny ante, Bingo, and games involving dice and cards.…
Go Forth and Multiply
Episode 3 of Secrets of Mental Math
Delve into the secrets of easy mental multiplication: Professor Benjamin's favorite mathematical operation. Once you've mastered how to quickly multiply any two-digit or three-digit number by a one-digit number, you've mastered the most fundamental operations of mental multiplication and added…
Divide and Conquer
Episode 4 of Secrets of Mental Math
Turn now to the last fundamental operation of arithmetic: division. Explore a variety of shortcuts for dividing by one- and two-digit numbers; learn how to convert fractions such as 1/7 and 3/16 into decimals; and discover methods for determining when…
Mixed Strategies and the Art of Bluffing
Episode 4 of The Mathematics of Games and Puzzles
What happens when you're playing a game with an intelligent adversary whose goals are opposed to yours? You have a zero-sum game such as penny matching, rock-paper-scissors, and simplified poker. Discover how to use math to bluff, play unpredictably, and…
The Art of Guesstimation
Episode 5 of Secrets of Mental Math
In most real-world situations: such as figuring out sales tax or how much to tip: you don't need an exact answer but just a reasonable approximation. Here, develop skills for effectively estimating addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and square roots.
Solving “Impossible” Puzzles
Episode 8 of The Mathematics of Games and Puzzles
Try your hand at some classic puzzles that have been driving people crazy for centuries involving sliding blocks, jumping pegs, and blinking lights--each of which deals heavily with odd or even numbers. Once you've learned some handy mathematical concepts and…
The Speed of Vedic Division
Episode 8 of Secrets of Mental Math
Vedic mathematics, which has been around for centuries, is extremely helpful for solving division problems: much more efficiently than the methods you learned in school. Learn how Vedic division works for dividing numbers of any length by any two-digit numbers.
Expert Backgammon
Episode 6 of The Mathematics of Games and Puzzles
Mathematically trained players also have a decisive edge in backgammon, which trains you to make decisions in highly uncertain conditions. Professor Benjamin explains the rules of the game, the basic strategies for winning, the best ways to play your opening…
Calendar Calculating
Episode 10 of Secrets of Mental Math
The fun continues in this episode with determining the day of the week of any date in the past or in the future. What day of the week was July 4, 2000? How about February 12, 1809? You'd be surprised…
Memorizing Numbers
Episode 9 of Secrets of Mental Math
Think that memorizing long numbers sounds impossible? Think again. Investigate a fun: and effective: way to memorize numbers using a phonetic code in which every digit is given a consonant sound. Then practice your knowledge by trying to memorize the…
Advanced Multiplication
Episode 11 of Secrets of Mental Math
Professor Benjamin shows you how to do enormous multiplication problems in your head, such as squaring three-digit and four-digit numbers; cubing two-digit numbers, and multiplying two-digit and three-digit numbers. While you may not frequently encounter these large problems, knowing how…